Subject: Black and Red with White Spots
Location: 92595 [Wildomar, California]
April 19, 2014 4:11 pm
I just found this in my backyard and want to know if he will be bad for my vegetables, grapes and fruit trees. I’ve narrowed it down to either a Milkweed Bug or a Box Elder Bug… but don’t know.
Signature: Joseph Morabito
You did a very good job of narrowing this identification to two similar looking species. This is actually a Small Milkweed Bug, Lygaeus kalmii, and we do not believe it will cause any significant problems in your garden. Citations on BugGuide include: “Adults suck nectar from flowers of various herbaceous plants, and also feed on milkweed seeds(?). Also reported to be scavengers and predators, especially in spring when milkweed seeds are scarce. They have been reported feeding on honey bees, monarch caterpillars and pupae, and dogbane beetles, among others. The Life of a Californian Population of the Facultative Milkweed Bug Lygaeus kalmii. Adults mainly feed on milkweed seeds, but they often consume nectar from various flowers. Harvard Entomology.”