What’s Eating my Plant?

A few days ago, while I was watering the potted herbs on my desk, I spotted the following critters munching on some fennel.

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Most of the time, I’m not pleased to find caterpillars making a meal of my plants, but these are swallowtail caterpillars. In fact, I planted the fennel in the hope of feeding these guys. A few years ago, I enlarged a nearby flower garden, focusing on plants that attract butterflies. When I started seeing lots of swallowtails, I decided that I should feed the caterpillars as well as the adults.

Six days later, the 4 caterpillars had munched on quite a bit of my fennel plant, so I headed for the garden center to buy three more. I hope there’s enough food to keep them around until it’s time for metamorphosis.

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If you are interested in attracting butterflies to your yard, this website lists plants that provide food for caterpillars and nectar for the adult butterflies. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/butterflies/butterfly_index.html

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