So you lure the swallowtail in the garden

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And when, on a beautiful Sunday morning, the sun came up, bright and warm, a little hungry caterpillar emerged from the egg - crack. "Anyone who discovers a small swallowtail caterpillar in his garden can observe the miracle Eric Carle wrote in his famous children's book." The little caterpillar Nimmersatt "has described: Within a few weeks, the tiny turns into an almost kleinfingerdickes, proper Röllchen.

So the garden becomes a paradise for the swallowtail

In contrast to the story, the caterpillar strictly adheres to a vegetarian diet: it feeds exclusively on umbelliferae, in the garden these are usually dill, fennel or carrot. The caterpillar usually has a plant all to itself, because in contrast to the cabbage white, the butterfly lays the eggs individually and wanders for it far. Occasionally you do not even see the butterfly itself and only notice from its offspring that it must have paid a visit to the garden.

Swallowtail caterpillar

The female usually lays the eggs individually on fodder plants. The caterpillars never occur in masses and cause no significant damage. Although the caterpillars are characteristically marked and grow quite large - almost like a little finger just before pupating - they are easily overlooked. After four to five weeks, they leave the forage plant and look for a sheltered place where they turn into a doll

From one day to the other, the caterpillar then disappeared: it has retreated and pupated, the inconspicuous cocoon usually hangs from a stalk a few inches above the ground. In midsummer, the second generation of butterflies hatches. These summer butterflies are slightly stronger colored than the spring butterflies and usually more often. As a rule, the offspring of the summer generation survive as winter puppets and only turn into butterflies in the following spring.


The stage of pupation lasts a good two weeks before the next generation of butterflies hatches

Therefore, do not clear up the vegetable garden so thoroughly in the fall that the puppets survive the winter in the shelter of withered plants. The swallowtail is a thermophilous butterfly and more widespread in the south of Germany than in the north, although fortunately there are signs of a general increase. The moths like to show themselves on nectar-rich flowers such as lavender and summer lilac.

With horns against predators

When the swallowtail caterpillar feels threatened, it suddenly throws back her upper body and removes two orange-colored croissants (neck fork). It exudes an unpleasant odor of butyric acid, which is intended to deter predators such as ants or parasitic wasps. The colorful drawing is worn only by the older caterpillars. Newly hatched, they are rather dark colored and have a light back mark. With each moult - after about a week - the color changes a bit.

These plants attract the dovetail

Dill flowers

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So you lure the swallowtail in the garden: swallowtail

So you lure the swallowtail in the garden: caterpillar

So you lure the swallowtail in the garden: caterpillar


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Food plants for the swallowtail

So you lure the swallowtail in the garden: swallowtail

The caterpillars are best discovered on the tall stems of the dill. Dill all by itself and sprouts criss-cross in the flower beds. Just leave some plants standing

So you lure the swallowtail in the garden: swallowtail

The filigree leaves of fennel are also on the menu

So you lure the swallowtail in the garden: swallowtail

In nature, the moth likes to lay its eggs on the wild carrot (Daucus carota) (photo). In the vegetable garden you can also find them on carrots

So you lure the swallowtail in the garden: caterpillar

Parsley is also part of the umbelliferae and therefore comes as a feed plant for the caterpillar in question

Dill flowers


Wild carrot


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