Recently I posted about the lack of Monarch butterflies this fall. That still holds true, and it still scares and depresses me. But look what I found in my fall carrot crop: a crop of another kind, Monarch caterpillars!
Editor’s note: I have been informed by one of my readers that these are black Swallowtail, not Monarch caterpillars. Thanks, Andy!
And C.J., I did not find any munching on my parsley, so I guess they have a new favorite host plant, at least in my garden.
I have counted six or seven caterpillars so far, and there are probably others lurking under the leaves. But they are predicting colder temperatures next week, and I’m afraid these guys won’t stand a chance. How ironic that they should arrive in my garden when it’s probably too late. What a bummer.
Is there any place I could bring them so they could pupate? I don’t know of any around here. Please let me know asap if you know of one.
Another editor’s note: Monarch or swallowtail, they probably have just one more day to live, if the predictions of freezing temperatures are true. I could bring them inside and they might pupate, but I just can’t figure out where they could do that in our garage.
Well, it’s not a monarch caterpillar. I think they are probably black swallowtails. They spend the winter as a chrysalis, so they just have to reach the pupation stage before it gets too cold. If you really think they are too small to pupate you could bring them in with greens to eat and see if they will pupate in the cellar through the winter. You never know.
Gosh, I can’t think of where I could put them. I think they are too small to pupate now, so I’d need something to keep them – and their carrot tops – in until they do. I’ll ponder that today.
If it were me, I’d throw an old sheet over the carrots to help them weather the frost. It may be that the caterpillars are designed to live a ways into the autumn and they might do better than we’d expect, especially with that little bit of help. Of course if they do pupate you’ll have to inspect every carrot you pull for a chrysalis!
I have an empty aquarium I’d love to donate to you for the caterpillars, dn. They’ll have wings before it would reach you. I guess it’s up to Mother Nature.