Currently viewing the tag: "Milkweed Meadow"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: gray and black beetle-like bug on swamp milkweed
Location: Fenton, MO
September 4, 2016 1:51 pm
Dear Bugman,
I ran into this creature while inspecting my swamp milkweed for monarch caterpillars. I found ver 10 caterpillars as well as this gray and sort of shiny creature. It has 5 black dots on each side and I think I see 6 legs but really small. its about the size of a ladybug. Found it on underside of Swamp. Milkweed leaf toward top of stem. I cannot tell where to begin to find out what this little guy or gal is and if he/she means harm to my milkweed or my monarch caterpillars.
Thanks so much!
Signature: fran

Swamp Milkweed Beetle Larva

Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle Larva

Dear Fran,
This is the larva of a Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle,
Labidomera clivicollis, and we identified it on BugGuide based on this image.  According to BugGuide:  “Larvae and adults cut several side-veins of a milkweed leaf prior to feeding, to reduce the sticky latex that would otherwise be produced at their feeding sites.”  So, the larvae and adults of the Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle share the same food source as the Monarch Butterfly, and unless the beetles are so populous that they defoliate the plants, they are not a threat to either the milkweed or the Monarch caterpillars.

Thanks you so much.  A few folks had thought it might be a false Potato Bug larvae??? Since I found it on a swamp milkweed leaf, a Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetle makes sense!
Thanks do much!
fran

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Busy milkweeds
Location: Columbus, Ohio
July 12, 2016 1:04 pm
So the milkweeds seem to be the water cooler of the insect world. We have monarchs, Japanese beetles, tons of bees (honey and bumbles), and these red mating things! Their flowers are a pretty color and they really have a pleasant and strong scent. I’m rather surprised that these weren’t grown on purpose before the whole monarch decline. Any way, were enjoying the show and hope to get a caterpillar or two.
Signature: Amber

Mating Large Milkweed Bugs

Mating Large Milkweed Bugs

Dear Amber,
There is indeed quite a robust ecosystem surrounding milkweed, which is one of the reasons we created a Milkweed Meadow tag on our site recently.  Monarch Butterflies need milkweed as it is the only food consumed by the Monarch Caterpillars.  Milkweed Borers and Milkweed Tussock Moth Caterpillars are other visitors you might expect in the future.  Your mating Large Milkweed Bugs are another species that depends upon milkweed.  Many pollinators like your Bumble Bees, numerous species of butterflies and many wasps including Tarantula Hawks (mostly in western states), while not dependent upon milkweed as a sole food, are attracted to the fragrant blooms that are laden with nectar.  We will attempt to identify your Bumble Bee species.  

Bumble Bees

Bumble Bees

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Feisty Milkweed
Location: Central Minnesota
June 29, 2016 5:24 pm
Howdy!
I live in central Minnesota (Upper Midwest) and I’m growing milkweed around my house (along with some other flowers and veggies of the like).
When trying to get a snap shot of a white/tan butterfly with grey borders, one of these little guys ran right up to my face and threw his hands about.
I’ve seen them somewhere, but I don’t remember what they’re called or if they’re beneficial to the milkweed? I was hoping to attract Monarchs and I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll happen someday.
Signature: BadWithBugs

Red Milkweed Beetle

Red Milkweed Beetle

Dear BadWithBugs,
There is an incredibly complex ecosystem associated with Milkweed and many insects, like the Monarch, feed solely on Milkweed.  This Red Milkweed Beetle,
Tetraopes tetrophthalmus, is an insect that feeds on Milkweed.  According to BugGuide:  “Eggs laid on stems near ground or just below surface; larvae bore into stems, overwinter in roots, and pupate in spring; adults emerge in early summer.”  Of the genus, BugGuide notes:  “Adults feed on leaves of milkweed (Asclepias); larvae feed externally on roots of host (root feeding is unique among Lamiinae).”  We have a nice image on our site of a Red Milkweed Beetle feeding on Milkweed with a Monarch Caterpillar.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Monarchs 2016
Location: Columbus, Ohio
June 26, 2016 10:00 am
Hey all at What’s That Bug!! I just had my first Monarch Butterfly sighting of the year. Inspite of my hubby’s comment of “I can’t believe we’re growing weeds in the garden”, my milkweeds are blooming this year, and I just saw my first monarch taking a drink. They seem to be a bit more “flighty” (forgive the pun) than the other butterflies we get, so I’m afraid these aren’t my best pics, but I wanted to let you all know that the Monarchs are in Ohio!
Signature: Amber

Monarch nectaring on Milkweed

Monarch nectaring on Milkweed

Dear Amber,
Thanks so much for providing us documentation of your successful propagation of milkweed and the subsequent attraction of your first Monarch butterfly.  Milkweed is the food plant for the caterpillars of the Monarch butterfly, and the flowers are a rich source of nectar for many butterflies, making milkweed an excellent addition to any butterfly garden.  We just returned from a trip to Youngstown, Ohio, on the Pennsylvania border, and we were struck at the dearth of milkweed on roadsides.  Many years ago, milkweed was quite common, but as farming techniques became more efficient, and as more open space was cleared to rear crops, milkweed populations have diminished, leading to decreased populations of Monarch butterflies as well.  Your individual is a male, as evidenced by the black spots on the hind wings.  See the Arizona State University Ask a Biologist page for a visual difference between male and female Monarch.  Hopefully, female Monarchs will also visit your milkweed and lay eggs.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Unfamiliar True Bug
Location: Chula Vista, California
May 24, 2016 6:02 pm
Hello! First I would like to say I do love this website very much and I frequently visit it for some fun! Now on to my question; in my area there are hundreds upon hundreds of Red Shouldered Bugs running around. But just today (5/24/16), I have noticed a strange dead bug that was obviously a true bug but was not one of those very common Red Shouldered Bugs while I was walking my dog. I didn’t think about it much until I got back home and then I saw a living one in my backyard. It was about 1/2 and inch longer than an adult Red Shouldered Bug with a different pattern. I think it’s some kind of parasitic bug but what I’m hoping is that it is an assassin bug (I want to catch one so I can feed it a bunch of spiders in my house). Please identify this bug.
Signature: Stugy

Large Milkweed Bug

Large Milkweed Bug

Dear Stugy,
The Large Milkweed Bug,
Oncopeltus fasciatus, is generally found in association with Milkweed, a plant that supports a diverse insect ecosystem.  Large Milkweed Bugs have been reported to our site in association with Oleander, a common landscape and freeway plant with toxic tendencies.  See BugGuide for species verification.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Fat orange juvenile(?) insect.
Location: Walnut Creek CA open space near pond.
February 29, 2016 7:06 pm
I found the group of orange insects with black spots near water last August, in the Walnut Creek Open Space, California. Later I found an earlier picture of a what must be a close relative of this bug in my files. I don’t know where I found it. That one does not have the spots.
I hope you can tell me what these critters are.
Signature: Dirk Muehlner

Large Milkweed Bug Nymphs

Large Milkweed Bug Nymphs

Dear Dirk,
We wish you had not cropped your image.  These sure look like Large Milkweed Bug nymphs,
Oncopeltus fasciatus, based on this BugGuide image, and they do appear to be feeding on milkweed pods, but we would love to see more of the plant to try to identify the species of milkweed.  The image you captured earlier is also a True Bug in the suborder Heteroptera, but from there the taxonomies diverge.  The Large Milkweed Bugs are Seed Bugs in the family Lygaeidae and the other is a solitary Western Boxelder Bug nymph, Boisea rubrolineata, in the Scentless Plant Bug family Rhopalidae which you can verify on BugGuide

Western Boxelder Bug Nymph

Western Boxelder Bug Nymph

Update:  March 7, 2016
Hi Daniel
Thank you for identifying these Large Milkweed Bug larvae!  You regretted that my image was cropped and I found a less cropped version, for what it’s worth.

Large Milkweed Bugs (juvenile)

Large Milkweed Bugs (juvenile)

Thanks again.   I really appreciate your response to my query.
Dirk

Wow Dirk,
We are so excited to get an image that includes the narrow leaf milkweed seed pods and the leaf is also visible.  Las Pilitas Nursery has more wonderful information on the California Narrow Leaf Milkweed, a critical plant in a vibrant ecosystem that we profile in Milkweed Meadow.

Narrow Leaf Milkweed with Large Milkweed Bug nymphs

Narrow Leaf Milkweed with Large Milkweed Bug nymphs

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination