PHOTOGRAPHER + DESIGNER BASED IN MARYLAND USA I’m in love with every aspect of life’s little moments and beautiful imperfections. I’m also a huge nerd.
IN LIFE, THERE’S MOVEMENT IN EVERY MOMENT AND BEAUTY IN ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS OPEN YOUR EYES, CLEAR YOUR MIND, THEN TAKE THE TIME TO EMBRACE IT.
Let’s talk about beautiful things. melanie@melaniehelena.com
Fb In Pi Tw Li

Accidentally Raising Eastern Black Swallowtails

This was my first time raising Eastern Black Swallowtails! One day, I decided to plant some parsley and dill in a medium-sized container right out back, just on the side of our deck, next to the steps. A few days later, there they were! We had 6 eggs!

Never before seeing caterpillars eggs, the idea of Eastern Black Swallowtails living and thriving in our backyard, on our parsley and dill, was really exciting to me!  Sadly, only 3 eggs survived, so I did some research. Weighing all of the negatives and positives of raising the babies myself (instead of them being left to fend for themselves), just led me to more questions. After some more research and joining/asking various wildlife/pollinator groups what I should do, I decided to purchase a butterfly enclosure. I spent the next days watching closely and taking photos throughout the whole process. To say I was in love with these tiny eggs would be a huge understatement. ♥

A few years back, I worked at a local garden center. One day, I discovered the herb area was full of Swallowtail caterpillars! Whaaaaaa?! From that day on, I used every excuse I could think of to get out of my office, sneak over to the garden center, take photos and observe.

Just to clarify, I am by no means an expert on raising butterflies but there are a ton of blogs, websites and facebook groups that can help you if have any questions or need advice 🙂

Below are the main posts I added to a few pollinator groups online, because that’s what proud parents do ♥

July 28
Hello everyone! This morning, while I was watering, I stopped to check on my parsley and dill container. I planted specifically with the hopes of waking up one glorious morning to find a few Swallowtail eggs and I think today is the day! My yard is now finally filled with pollinators, dragonflies, hummingbirds, you name it and they visit me daily.


Am I going to be a Swallowtail mom or are these other eggs?! Please, help me out, educate and correct me if I’m wrong, as I’m still learning.

August 6
I wanted to share an update on the Black Swallowtail eggs post from 7/28.

We started out with 6 eggs, and unfortunately lost 3 BUT as of tonight, there are 3 baby caterpillars, in a mesh butterfly habitat on my back deck, happily munching away on parsley and dill. So far, they’re loving life and I’m completely obsessed with taking care of them.

August 21
Black Swallowtail update #1
Petie AKA Sneaky Pete

Today, I knew the first was going to eclose. I took a quick photo, then went inside for about an hour. When I went back outside to check, I saw my first raised Black Swallowtail, in all his glory, fully eclosed and perfect as could be. I named him Petie (AKA Sneaky Pete) because he waited until I walked away to do his thing. I gently nudged him onto my finger, turned around and he was off! Such a beautiful moment and one I’ll never forget. (sniffles)

 

 

August 22
Black Swallowtail update #2
Simon

The second butterfly emerged early this morning. Another boy, a very shy, little butterfly. My heart melted all over again. I named him Simon for some reason. We still have one to go ♥

August 27
Black Swallowtail update #3
Daisy Mae

On Friday morning, the third and last of our chrysalis eclosed. A girl!!! Daisy Mae ♥ It was raining all day and cooler that night so I couldn’t let her go. I decided that Saturday morning would be the perfect time to release her. Woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee and tried to let her go but to my surprise, she wasn’t able to fly. After freaking out a little bit, I decided that maybe she just needed to warm up. I let her crawl on my finger so she could soak up some sunshine. Her new, little butterfly feet on my hands felt like pure magic. A few moments (and a butterfly poo) later she flew away, as free as could be.

This experience was one of the most fulfilling, magical and purest of my life.

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