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How do I care for a black swallowtail caterpillar?

I found 4 caterpillars on my fennel plant today. I believe they are black swallowtail caterpillars. How do I care for them? I’d prefer they don’t destroy my entire fennel plant. Could I cut a few branches off and put them and the caterpillars in a jar? Need some help from an experienced butterfly person. :)

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5 Responses to “How do I care for a black swallowtail caterpillar?”

  1. Mathew W

    I brought some indoors last year. They need fresh fennel every day. You could also feed them fresh parsley or carrot greens. If there is a patch of Queen Anne’s Lace near you, you could use that- it is a wild carrot. They drink from mist sprayed on the leaves.

    We used a 10 gallon fish tank with pine shavings in the bottom, but I don’t imagine they’re picky.

    I can’t remember how long it took them to mature, but the kids really enjoyed it when they emerged from their chrysalises and flew away.

  2. smiles :)

    try going to wikipedia.org, and typing in your q, or type in black swallowtail caterpillar!!!

    hope it helps!

  3. NXile

    We always have them in our Parsley, and that’s the only reason I grow it.

    Get a large jar with a lid on it, and make sure they have a LOT of fennel. Make sure to poke air holes in the lid! Put some sticks in the jar which nearly reach the top, and wait for the chrysalises to form. You can then poke the sticks into modeling clay, or a foam egg carton to hold them upright. It’s totally cool when the Butterflies begin to emerge.

  4. flutterbeadus

    Leave them. They will be making a cocoon soon. I grow fennel just for the swallowtails.Your fennel will come back next year.

  5. Pokeguy273

    If you want to help, leave them be. They know what they’re doing. Just be sure to enjoy them while they’re around.

    Happy Gardening!

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