Mystery bug on milkweed
July 28, 2009
I live in the Houston area. I am finding these strange larva on my tropical milkweed – along with the ever-present aphids. I don’t know whether to squish them or protect them. Are they good or bad?
These Syrphid Fly larvae are predators in the family Syrphidae that are feeding on the Aphids. The adult flies are sometimes called Flower Flies or Hover Flies and they are pollinating insects. We don’t know exactly what genus or species your Syrphid Fly Larvae belong to, but they should not be squished. Here is a link to the Syrphid Fly Larvae posted on BugGuide. The Aphids are Oleander Aphids, Aphis nerii, and they are common on Milkweed. They infest our outdoor Hoya species in Los Angeles. You can read more about the Oleander Aphid on BugGuide as well.
April 25, 2010
Oh my gosh! Thank you for this website! I went out with a wet papertowel to remove the hundreds of aphids on my Japanese Maple and saw these little worms/catapillars on my tree. I decided to look them up before removing them because it looked like they were eating the aphids. I found the answer real easy by Googling “aphid eating worms” and you were the first site that popped up. YAY! Thank you for this service and saving the syrphid : )