Black Swallowtail Baby Mama to Baby Prelude to Black Swallowtail Metamorphosis
Location:  Centreville, VA
August 5, 2010 3:53 pm
Hi – I have been raising Black Swallowtails and Monarchs in my garden for a couple of years now. This year I was lucky enough to see the eggs being laid.

Black Swallowtail Oviposits

I did an egg check everynight so I know for a fact the time line. These were laid on July 31 and hatched the morning of Aug 5. Just so exciting to me!
Bev Basham

Black Swallowtail Eggs

Hi Bev,
This is wonderful documentation for our readership.  We generally hear about Black Swallowtail Caterpillars feeding on carrot greens or parsley, but it appears the food plant in your garden is something different.  Might it be Queen Anne’s Lace?  Can you please provide us with the identity of the food plant in the event others want to try to support the generation of Black Swallowtails in the home garden?

Newly Hatched Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

I think I sent the worst of two pictures of the butterfly laying eggs. This is a better shot. The plant is Bronze Fennel. I have a butterfly garden at my son’s school and the Fennel we planted there is a different version and it is taking over the world, it’s over 10 ft tall and throws seeds everywhere so we are replacing it next year with this version which seems to be shorter. I’m so glad you liked the shots. I have a pretty good macro on my camera and really enjoy getting the close up pictures of insects. There is so much more to them than we see with our eyes.

Maybe I did send the right one the first time, once it was gone I had no way of checking. I just got in from checking on the little cats and they have at least doubled in size. The first day they hatched we had a horrendous thunder storm here with high winds and I thought they got washed away but they were holding on tight. Now if I can just keep the earwigs away.

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Location: Virginia

3 Responses to Black Swallowtail: Egg Laying, Eggs and First Instar Caterpillar

  1. vfal says:

    This is the first time I ever saw this caterpillar on my parsley and have watch them grow (I have two) but now I cannot find them. Where would I find their cocoons? One day the caterpillars were huge and the next day they were gone. I have one more little one that I would like to nurture to a butterfly stage. Is there something I should be doing? I live in CT so I am afraid the weather will get to cool too soon.

  2. Karen Van Heest says:

    I had over 12 BSB in the first stage of their life moving into the second. For as fast as they were eating I knew with all the eggs I still had to go with as well I bought more parsley and dill plants to keep them fed. Every morning I go out to feed my friends birds, chipmunks, squirrels and check on my butterflies. I went to Walmart again to pick up a few more plants and noticed out of about 12 that I had counted that I had 3 left. I looked everywhere for them no luck. Next day went out all of them were gone. I was sick. I never had a problem before last year I raised them had so many had to give them to the enviromental center at the local park. Now my question is what happened to these guys? I have a bunch of eggs now and don’t want to go through this again they just disappeared. Who ate them? I want to protect them the best I can any suggestions? I just want to know where they went and why did something eat them if they stink so bad when you touch them? Please help me. Haven’t had any Monarch visitors as of yet but they will be next for me to babysit. I don’t want to lose any of them anymore.

    • bugman says:

      Caterpillars are a significant food source for many animals. Possible predators include birds and wasps.

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