When do Black Swallowtail Chrysalis Hatch in Spring

I have two Black Swallowtail pupae overwintering in the refrigerator since the fall. I have been spritzing them twice a week and now that March is here, could you advise me on what to do next. Thank you.

Karen says:
It depends upon where you live in the U.S.. I would wait until the weather is warm enough for spring blossoms. The nectar will be food for the butterfly. It will probably take a couple of weeks after you remove the chrysalis from the refrigerator until the butterfly emerges from the chrysalis.

Please add a comment here as to how things go once you take the chrysalis out of the frig. Thanks!

Comments for When do Black Swallowtail Chrysalis Hatch in Spring

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First overwintered chrysalis
by: Bonnie

I'm so excited. My first black swallowtail chrysalis opened today. I only had a single caterpillar which I found after washing the deck. I didn't know what type it was at first, since I had never seen them in the brownish stage. All the ones I tried to protect earlier last summer must have been eaten by birds. Anyway after researching it, I decided to try to keep it. I had a large cheap cylinder shaped vase about 6" across and found that a Cool whip lid fit the top perfectly. I put a wet paper towel in the bottom and a few tulip tree twigs for it to choose a chrysalis location. It crawled around and pooped for about a day, and then started its final transformation into the chrysalis. I left it in our garage outside during the winter. We only had a few weeks in November when it was below freezing. I checked on it several times during the winter thinking it looked so dry - would it make it? Like many places in the South, it's like summer here already. I checked on it Thursday before I went out of town - nothing. My husband checked it on Saturday - still nothing. But this morning I saw an eastern tiger swallowtail fly through the backyard and I thought I need to check on it. Lo and behold it was fluttering around in the vase, wings still a bit wet. I removed a couple of the twigs to give it more room. It is cool in the garage but quite warm outside. I'm wondering if she (I think) needs time to acclimate to the temperature. I do have parsley growing (which is where the eggs were laid), and I went ahead and put a piece in there, but she doesn't seem interested. Should I just leave the top off and hope she flies out and finds food?

Overwintering swallowtails
by: Susie

I kept my black swallowtail chrysalises outside in a terrarium over the winter. (I live in southeastern PA.) There were about 15 of them and all but 6 have emerged in the past week. I would say 3 will emerge today. I also saw swallowtail eggs on my fennel yesterday.

Karen says:
Fantastic Susie! Thanks so much for the update on overwintering your swallowtail chrysalises. I like your method because they are protected but in their natural environment. Did you cover the terrarium? Where did you put the terrarium - sun? shade? protected? out in open? Exciting that you saw your first eggs :)

I just released a "surprise" black swallowtail. This is terrible, but I don't know where it attached itself in my house....sometimes they get away from me in the fall without me realizing it :) Anyway, the next day I saw it "nectaring" on a dandelion :)

I would love reports from other readers on their experiences overwintering swallowtail chrysalises.

When do Black Swallowtails Hatch in Spring
by: Susie

Please let me know how this works out for you. I've been leery putting them in the refrigerator and have put them outside over the winter in a terrarium. I know they would be safer in the fridge. If it works for you I'll try that method next year.

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