Swallowtail who woke up too early
by DL Drake
(Old Lyme, CT USA)
Our house is in Southern Connecticut. It will be up in the 40s today (March 5) but I'm sure it will be getting colder again.
We had many black swallowtail caterpillars in our herb garden this summer on the parsley and fennel plants. I planted extra parsley when I noticed them so we'd have enough to use ourselves. I didn't know what black swallowtail chrysalises looked like until I just found your site today. I brought in a couple pots of herbs to overwinter - a strawberry pot with a rosemary in the top, small bay plant and lemon verbena.
Today I noticed a black swallowtail butterfly on the windowsill next to the strawberry pot. It is moving sluggishly and looks drugged, so I think it may have just hatched. I think it's too cold to put it outside. Until it warms up a bit outside, what would be best for it? If I put it under a large glass cloche with air circulation and cut parsley (until I can get a live plant) would that work?
You can try and feed the butterfly nectar - maybe Gaterade, Juicy Juice or sugar-water nectar (1 part sugar, 10 parts water - boil water and add sugar to dissolve). Saturate plain white crumpled white paper towel with one of above and set on dish. Hope this helps.
Anyone else have experience to share with early emerging black swallowtail butterfly?