Sunday, August 28, 2016

Raising Black Swallowtails

A few weeks ago i found some Black Swallowtail caterpillars on my dill plants. They were already quite large when i found them, i'm not sure how i missed them before this. 

We brought them inside so we could watch them transform.

Unlike the monarchs, the black swallowtails don't hang upside down in a J. Instead they make a sling out of silk and hang off the side of a stick. 

They shed their skin a final time and the chrysalis is formed.   They typically stay in the chrysalis around 2 weeks, however late season Black Swallowtails will overwinter inside their chrysalis. This can be a problem if you have your chrysalis indoors, because the heat can cause them to eclose prematurely.  If you notice your chrysalis has not eclosed after 4 weeks, it's best to take it outside so that it can overwinter naturally.

Our first black swallowtail eclosed after about 10 days. We had a second one eclose the next day and we have one more chrysalis not quite ready yet. 

Raising black swallowtails is fun and easy. The host plants for the caterpillars are dill, parsley, carrot and fennel.  Every year i plant lots of dill specifically for the black swallowtails, this is the first year i've actually found them on it. i usually find them in my carrots. 


Post a Comment