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Common names: Parsleyworm, Celeryworm, Black Swallowtail Butterfly, Carrotworm

Scientific name: Papilio polyxenes asterius

Region: This Caterpillar is found throughout North America.

Life cycle: This insect produces two to four generations each year and overwinters as a pupa, or an adult in southern regions.

This 2-inch long caterpillar starts brown with white on its back, later turning to green with a yellow dotted black band across each segment.  When disturbed, it projects two orange horns and emits a strong, cloyingly sweet odor.  The well-known adult butterfly has large black wings with three rows of yellow markings parallel to the wing edges.  The rear wing also has a blue row, an orange spot on each, and projecting lobes.  The wingspan is 3 inches.  The white eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the host plants.

Feeding characteristics: This pest attacks carrot, celery, parsley, and parsnip by chewing the leaves and stems. Since the population is rarely large, usually very little damage is done.

Controls: Early morning handpicking is usually sufficient to control this pest. However, if this is not adequate, apply Bacillus thuringiensis.

Return from Parsleyworm to Insects M-P Encyclopedia of Garden Insects

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