Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What is attacking my parsley??


What are these and where are they coming from?

This morning I discovered my parsley plant under attack from dozens of very colorful and cool-looking worms. This just happened, since two days ago I picked some and the plant was fine.
In all the years that I have been planting herbs, this is the first time I get an infestation such as this. When I come home from work tonight, I am going to try to save the plant. Picking worms off a plant is not my idea of a pleasant gardening evening but it has to be done!

26 comments:

Yolanda Elizabet said...

They look like caterpillars to me Rusty but I don't know which one as I am not familiar with the kinds of butterflies you have in Florida. You do need to pick them off as they will eat all your parsley.

Vanillalotus said...

They look to be black swallowtail caterpillars.
http://insects.tamu.edu/fieldguide/cimg266.html
Go to that site to learn more. It seems your parsley is a host for them.

Laura said...

I also think they are black swallowtail caterpillars. Personally, I'd saacrifice the parsley because I love butterflies!

Nancy said...

Yep, black swallowtail caterpillars. They love parsley and fennel. Depending upon how much you like parsley...maybe share with the butterfies?

rusty in miami said...

Thanks everyone for the info. I have planted many butterfly friendly plants in my garden. If these little guys are Black Swallowtail, you can be sure they are welcome in my garden. I can sacrifice a Parsley plant any time, and now that I know they like it, I’ll make sure to have plenty of parsley around. This past winter we had many Black Swallowtail butterflies visiting, I am glad to see that one decided it was a great place to laid her eggs.

Cheryl said...

Hi Rusty...everyone else has told you what they are. I am a butterfly lover, so bye bye parsley. You can always buy some parsley from the food market?
Parsley.....butterflies I know which way I go. Let us know what you decided.
Beautiful to see, thank you.

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Wow! Lucky you! You have so many of them!

I grow parsley just for the purpose of attracting the black swallowtail butterfly, (caterpillars).
I usually take a few sprigs of parsley and a caterpillar or two, (or three), and put them in a container so I can watch them emerge close-up.

Frances, said...

Hi Rusty, you had me scared there for a minute, thought you were going to pick off the wonderful caterpillars. Whew! Buy more parsley, and some fennel, bronze or regular. My black swallowtails, I wonder if they are the same as you have, love the bronze fennel which seeds all over so there is always plenty for them. They can take a large plant down to the main stem in a day however. Maybe you better get a flat of them! ;->

Frances at Faire Garden

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

When I saw the picture I started hollering, "DON'T KILL THEM, DON'T KILL THEM." Then I read the post. They are the prettiest butterflies. If you would like more of them grow fennel and dill as well as parsley.

vonlafin said...

I also panicked when I read your post. I am glad that you read your comments before picking the caterpillars off your parsley. I have never seen that many in one place. You are very lucky!

Rhonda said...

I've grown parsley for many years (even in florida)..they are host plants for butterflies. I always plant extra parsley..so that there is enough to share with them. It won't kill the plant..they will strip some of it as they munch..but then they will move on and the plant come right back. I started laughing when I read this blog..I can remember being perplexed too. Also..Aunt Debbi's comment..LOL...that's exactly what I was shouting...

whimsical said...

Boy am I glad I found this post. I got back from a week long vacation and upon checking my garden, I found my parsley as what appeard to be dire straits. I thought to myself it's a good thing I'm not a huge parsley fan. My second thought was maybe I'll hose down the plant and hope they fall off. When I read what these little wormies were though, what a joy. I'll share my parsley with these little guys anyday. Butterflies, yay!

Diane said...

I have them here in the Sandhills of North Carolina. My question is where do they go to turn into a cocoon? They have been eating on my parsley for several days and then they disappeared. Where should I look for them as a cocoon.

My mom can't wait for them to be butterflies.

Diane

Anonymous said...

I grew herbs for the first time last year, parsley included. One day I came out to find my parsley was nothing but sprigs and these catapillars all over them! I freaked and I did kill them just so they wouldn't travel to my other herbs, not knowing what they were. Then I came on the computer and found out what they were, I was real upset with myself that I didn't look it up first. So this year I planted parsley just hoping they would return, and they did. Probably 15-20, so I made a bed out of a glass dish (they won't crawl up glass) and put some brown sticks in there. They like to make their cacoons there. We'll see. I had to go out and buy some more parsley just so they'll have something to eat. I took pictures for everyone on facebook to see. The butterfly is beautiful!!

Lorie said...

Wow! I just googled caterpillars on parsley and I am so glad I found this blog. I am thrilled to report that I have black swallowtail caterpillars, as well! I have an herb container garden and all but one caterpillar are feasting on the flat leafed parsley. There's one little guy on the basil but I'm sure he's trying to navigate over to where the others are.

ECE said...

Hi
I live in Manitoba and I just found some of these in the garden. It is September and frost is on the way. If I put them in a jar with parsley will they cocoon? Will the cocoon for the winter? If anyone has any advice I would love to hear it.

Erik said...

Hi everybody. We live in Delaware and started our first garden with our 3 young children. This evening we find 2 black swallowtail caterpillers on our parsley. My kids (and me!!) were so excited and I couldn't wait to get inside to see what type of caterpillers they were. We can't wait to see then turn and will feed them plenty of parsley! Thanks for helping us identify them and for all your awesome posts.

Anonymous said...

I did the same thing Anonymous did, I killed them and then came to the computer to check. I still have another parsley plant and I'll save it. Yes, I'll nuy the parsley at the store.

OhhhNana said...

I have six of those guys on my parsley - my question...is this the normal time of the years? This is the third week of September!! I've never seen them before and I didn't want to kill something that might be a butterfly in the making - why so late???

Marcia said...

I am sure that is what I just destroyed in a panic from my 8th floor balcony Earth Box herb container in Jacksonville Florida. I have used the same planting system for herbs for many years at ground level with no problem. Now I feel guilty about my attack on them. Should have checked the internet first. Lesson learned.

Marie said...

I live in Manitoba, Canada, and have found several beautiful big caterpillars on my parsley. Where do they go to cocoon here? Our winters are pretty harsh, and yet I see them every summer. By the way, they leave me enough parsley to harvest. We have never seen a swallowtail butterfly....curious.

Jill G said...

Wow, I found about 20 of these caterpillars on one of my parsley plants this morning, I have plenty of parsley so I too will be letting them stay and look forward to seeing many butterfles!

Anonymous said...

J R from Florida.
Thank you so much!!
I'm former school teacher. I've always said you're never too old to learn.

sally said...

i planted parsley last year didnt see them this year i did my friend told me to pull them off i will not kill them but now i know what they are they are welcome here in new jersey

VanityMom said...

Oh no, I just clipped the stems and put approximately 10-15 caterpillars in a plastic bag. I Goggled this and I just had my husband retrieve them and I placed them back in my parsley pot garden. I feel so bad. I hope they survive!

Anonymous said...

It is June 25th, how long will these be in my garden for and will my parsley grow back?