The Garden Club of Orange Park wants to remind residents of the benefits of the Black Swallowtail butterfly
Who would have thought that a butterfly would be considered a pest! The Eastern Black Swallowtail's host plants are in the carrot family. Much of the herbs we grow in our gardens and that we cook with are celery, dill, and parsley and, of course, we cook many dishes with carrots. This caterpillar is also called the parsley caterpillar.
This swallowtail is found in much of Florida, it is rare in the Florida Keys, apparently due to the absence of its carrot family hosts. The black swallowtail is long-lived compared to other butterflies that inhibit temperate zones. It can live from two to three weeks when food is abundant.
In the pictures shown are the caterpillar, the chrysalis, a female and a male. The female has very narrow yellow spots and expanded blue areas on the hind wings. The male has a wide row of yellow spots on the underside of both wings.
So, if you do not want your herbs to be eaten, and you do consider it a pest, hand-picking the caterpillar from the plant is recommended. If you want more information regarding the Eastern Black Swallowtail, a good website is: