September 19

Tuesday Treasure

Newly hatched Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Newly hatched Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

One of the early signs of fall is the appearance of Black Swallowtail caterpillars on our carrot tops.  Just as the Monarch favors milkweed, the Black Swallowtail prefers to lay her eggs on carrot tops, sometimes dill, celery. or Queen Anne's Lace.  There are years when our carrot tops are heavy- laden with Black Swallowtail caterpillars.  So, we've been concerned that none have been spotted so far.  Well, the wait is over.   While inspecting the carrot crop today,  a little speck was observed.  Upon closer examination, it was indeed our first Black Swallowtail larva!!   This tiny guy will grow and grow into a right jolly ( and more colorful )old elf before spinning a chrysalis and settling in for a long winter's nap.  By springtime,  he (or she) will be flitting the light fantastic.