The swallowtail butterfly

Credit: Carolyn Herriot


If you saw this caterpillar on this angelica plant, would you know it metamorphoses into a beautiful swallowtail butterfly? Many people don’t and inadvertently destroy a valuable pollinator. Out of 5,000 species of insects only a handful cause damage in the garden. Most have a role to play that is beneficial and helps keep everything in balance.

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In the case of ones that do damage I identify the culprit, before seeking ways to prevent further damage. Infestations that reoccur from year to year require intervention in the pest’s lifecycle. Often all it requires is a spray with the hose, or the snip of an infested tip, occasionally it requires a targeted spray on the affected plant, done on a day with no wind, so non-target species don’t get killed too.

Return to Carolyn’s Victory Garden Program.