Yesterday, I was out in the garden picking fava beans when I noticed a bunch of these little dudes hanging out on my fennel. At first I mistook them for ladybug larvae and got all excited. But when I looked at one more closely, I realized it was actually a caterpillar.
Specifically, this is a Black swallowtail caterpillar. Apparently, they love fennel and other members of the parsley family. These small black, white and red caterpillars will eventually grow into big, green, black and yellow caterpillars--and then, of course, turn into butterflies. I've never seen them around my garden before, but this is the first year I've grown fennel, so maybe that's why.
They don't appear to be hurting the plants too much, but I plan to keep an eye on them. I also found a few cabbage worms in the garden yesterday. Those guys can do some damage, so I picked them off and fed them to the chickens.