Even though the weather is still cool here in Northeast Florida, I found this parsley worm on my parsley today. This is actually called the black swallowtail caterpillar and will transform into the black swallowtail butterfly – a large, attractive insect that will visit flowers and suck nectar. The Black Swallowtail caterpillar changes appearance each time it molts. In the last few stages of growth, it is white and green, with black bands and yellow or orange spots.
Because I don’t want to completely eliminate these (or use harmful chemicals), what I have done is to plant plenty of extra parsley and just hand pick a few of the caterpillars off and let the rest remain so that I can enjoy these butterflies in my garden.
If you want to attrack these insects, you can also plant dill, as it’s another one of their favorite feasts. Finally, here is a nice link with great pictures to help you identify a variety of these insects on your plants. Another cool thing to observe is to see them display their beautiful orange horns when threatened. I will try to post a pic of this when I can.