Dill (Anethum graveolens) :
With cultivation practices dating back to Roman times, it's easy to say that dill is a popular garden herb. Growing to a height of three feet, dill is characterized by its lanky structure, delicate blue/green leaves and stunning umbrella shaped flower blossoms. The leaves and seeds are edible and have long been used in Northern European cuisine to season soups, cheeses, salmon and pickles. Although dill is commonly prized for it ability to lure beneficial insects, it can sometimes succumb to harmful pests. This article will cover common dill pests, and the natural solutions for their control.
Dill Pests are Rare
Dill is a strong scented herb that helps prevent against many more pests than it is affected by. Its brilliant umbrella like flower blossoms attract many beneficial organisms such as lady bugs and wasps, while its pungent smell repels many other garden pests. While most pests will leave dill alone, there are a few that can cause substantial damage if left unnoticed. These potentially damaging pests are listed below.
Parsley Worm - The Parsley Worm is the larval or caterpillar stage of the Black Swallowtail Butterfly. These green or white bodied caterpillars have characteristic black stripes with yellow dots and are generally quite large, reaching a couple inches in length. These caterpillars are generally of little concern as they consume very little in comparison with the fast growth rate of dill.
- Removal: Hand removal is the best method for elimination. (Concentrate caterpillars onto just one or two dill plants. You'll have plenty of dill to harvest and a bunch of beautiful butterflies to match.)
Tomato Hornworm - The Tomato Hornworm is effectively the larval stage of the Hummingbird Moth. This uniformly colored bluish-green caterpillar can reach a length of four inches and is characterized by a horn that is visible on the anus of the specimen. Unlike the parsley worm, hornworms have a voracious appetite and can cause a substantial amount of loss or even plant death in dill.
- Removal: Due to their large size, hand removal is the easiest option for elimination. The hornworms can be squished, put in hot water or used as fishing bait!
Aphids - If you do ever happen to encounter dill pests, the majority of the time it will be in the form of caterpillars, but every now and then a dill plant may fall victim to aphids. These very small pests live on the leaves and cause damage by piercing and sucking sap. Aphids should be removed in a timely matter as they have been known to transmit disease to dill plants.
- Removal: For preventative measures or minor infestations, promote beneficial predatory insects. Lady bugs, spiders and wasps will all readily feast on aphids. For larger, more serious infestations, use Garlic Water for Plants. This potent garlic solution should be applied thoroughly once a week. Results are quick, as garlic eliminates aphids at all stages of growth.
Please Note -
All photos shown in this Hub were released under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.
Final Word -
Overall, when it comes to dill, there's not a whole lot to worry about. Although potential pests may seem like a scary aspect, the fact of the matter is that they rarely show up. I've grown dill in container gardens for years now and have yet to see any pests! Thank you for reading my article on common Dill Pests. Please feel free to leave any comments, questions or suggestions.
Connie Smith from Southern Tier New York State on August 06, 2012:
I learned a lot from this article. Thank you. I did not know that the tomato hornworm turns into one of my favorite insects, the hummingbird moth! And I'm very glad to know about the garlic water for aphids. Controlling pests naturally is a subject near and dear to me. Great Info here! Voted Up, Useful and Interesting; pinned and now following!