Gardening for Black Swallowtail Butterflies
The black swallowtail is a frequent visitor to many of our gardens. Its black 3” wings with 2 rows of yellow spots and 2 red eyes make it easy to identify. These fast flyers can be seen flying close to the ground.
Planting their favorite flowers, avoiding the use of pesticides, and delaying garden cleanup until late spring can help keep them visiting your landscape.
The adults nectar on flowers of milkweed, petunias, phlox, coneflowers, verbena, zinnias and more. The caterpillar has green and black stripes with yellow spots. It eats dill, fennel, carrot leaves and parsley.
This insect overwinters on branches, dead plant stalks and in bark crevices. So give them time to emerge from their chrysalis before removing old flower stems in spring.
A bit more information: The female black swallowtail butterfly lays its eggs on fennel, parsley, dill, and other host plants. Eggs hatch in 4 days when the colorful caterpillars emerge.