Pest Identifier: Butterflies in Tennessee

Overall, butterflies are more beneficial than harmful to Tennessee yards and gardens. Other than feeding on your flowers in their caterpillar forms, these fluttering insects play many important roles in the ecosystem, from pollinating flowers to serving as food sources for other animals. The only butterfly species that could be considered a pest are the black swallowtail and cabbage butterfly.

These two types of butterflies are considered minor pests, as they feed on garden vegetables and other plants in their caterpillar forms but do not infest homes or businesses the way moths, their distant relatives, do. Talk to a U.S. Pest Protection expert to ensure eliminating these insects is the best choice for your yard or garden.

How You Can Identify Black Swallowtails and Cabbage Butterflies

As a state with a diverse environment, Tennessee is home to a wide variety of butterfly species that may resemble black swallowtails and cabbage butterflies. Before trying to prevent or get rid of any butterfly that matches one of the descriptions below, schedule a free inspection with U.S. Pest Protection to receive a professional opinion about how to proceed.

Black Swallowtail

In their adult forms, black swallowtails measure between 2.5 and 4 inches in wingspan. Their wings are black with two rows of yellow spots lining the edges. Additionally, you can find light blue and red spots around the bottom types of their wings. Black swallowtail caterpillars resemble monarch butterfly caterpillars, as they are large and light green with alternating black, yellow, and white stripes. 

Cabbage Butterfly

Measuring between 1.75 and 2.25 inches in wingspan, adult cabbage butterflies have black bodies and white wings. Each wing has one or two black spots in the center and black coloring near the edges. Unlike the thick black swallowtail caterpillars, cabbage butterfly caterpillars are small and skinny. They are hairy and dark green in color, with yellow lines that run the length of their bodies.

Finding Black Swallowtails and Cabbage Butterflies in Your Yard

Wherever you have flowers and vegetables in your yard or garden, you’re sure to find adult black swallowtails and cabbage butterflies flying around. If you’re concerned about the number of these butterflies in your outdoor space, keep an eye out for their eggs.

Both species lay their eggs on plants, but their sizes and shapes are different. Black swallowtails’ eggs resemble peas and are typically in loose groups on plants’ leaves or stems. Cabbage butterfly eggs are extremely small, yellow, and clustered together on leaves.

Bring Balance to Your Yard or Garden with U.S. Pest Protection

Butterflies may be important to the health of your garden or yard, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. If black swallowtail or cabbage butterfly caterpillars have munched too many of your flowers or vegetables, U.S. Pest Protection can help. We offer reliable solutions to control their population and prevent infestations without harming the environment. 

Protect the health of your yard and garden without harming butterfly populations with U.S. Pet Protection’s professionals—schedule a free butterfly inspection today!  

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