Currently viewing the category: "Seed Bugs"

Subject:  large milkweed bugs
Geographic location of the bug:  San Diego co
Date: 01/30/2018
Time: 06:06 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi,
I need help.  I have a plant that I did not know what it was.  Have decided to cut it down but when I was, I found this red and black bug on it.  I looked it up.  It is a large milkweed bug.  I figured this must be a milkweed plant.  The bees love the flowers and it has large smooth skinned pods.  The bugs love it.  I found them very interesting and have been watching them for about a month.  I may have made a mistake.  They seem to bread excessively.  It was fun to watch 30 or 50 little tiny things grow bigger but now I think there are many more than that.  They seem to still want to bread and the little things are all over the plant.  Am I in trouble?  What should I do?  Thanks for your advise.
How you want your letter signed —
Susan Rykowski

Large Milkweed Bug with nymphs

Hi Susan,
We are pretty certain the plant in question is a Bladder Flower,
Araujia sericifera, which is native to South America and is featured on the Weeds of Australia website.  We faced a similar quandary with this plant several years ago when it sprouted on the fence at the What’s That Bug? offices.  We removed it after it bloomed and produced large pods.  The plant has a milky sap, which is the reason it has attracted the Large Milkweed Bugs.  Large Milkweed Bugs are native and they will not harm other plants in your yard.  They do not damage milkweed, but since they feed on seeds, they will reduce the number of viable seeds produced by a plant.  We do not provide extermination advice.  If you remove the bladder flower, an invasive species, you will also remove the food source for the Large Milkweed Bugs, though if there is oleander nearby, they will also feed on oleander.

Large Milkweed Bugs with nymphs

Thanks, I did not know how dangerous it would be to have the insects in the yard in those quantities.  I am going to take the plant down after they all break open so the guys can eat the seeds.  Then limit its size and location.  It takes over unless you watch it, which I did not.  No one is going to believe you answered me and actually knew what it was.  We have been having a hard time trying to find out what it was.  I have been told you could eat the pods and you could not.  I am not!  Thanks for all your advise!  Really helpful.

I have been very very interested in the large milkweed bugs.  This is so weird for me because I have always been afraid of bugs.  I am sending this picture because I think it so strange.  I have been watching them in the evening getting on top of each other.  They pull the younger ones underneath.  In the morning when the sun hits them the ones on top start to wake up and then they start waking each of the ones underneath.  Like they are checking them.  Do you know if what I am saying is true?  Thanks  Susan

Large Milkweed Bugs

Hi again Susan,
Thanks for the update on your Large Milkweed Bugs.  There are some Heteropterans, the order to which the Large Milkweed Bug belongs, that practice parental care, including some Stink Bugs like the one pictured on Alamy and some Treehoppers like those pictured in the Bug of the Week posting of the University of Maryland.  We have not heard of this behavior in Large Milkweed Bugs, and the newest images you provided only depict immature individuals.  This is more likely a situation where forming aggregations of individuals is mutually beneficial and it is not an example of caring for younger individuals.

Update:  March 1, 2018
Hi Daniel
Hope you are not angry that I am contacting you again.  Why are some of the larger bugs turning white.  See the picture.  I don’t know if it is a young bug getting mature or a mature bug getting older.
Susan Rykowski

Newly Metamorphosed Large Milkweed Bug

No Problem Susan.  The light individual is newly metamorphosed, and once the exoskeleton fully hardens, the color will darken.

Subject:  Elm Seed bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Osooyos, BC Canada
Date: 01/22/2018
Time: 05:58 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi There
Just hoping to get conformation on this beetle.
Thank you
How you want your letter signed:  Hannah Rowe

Elm Seed Bugs

Dear Hannah,
We agree that these are invasive Elm Seed Bugs,
Arocatus melanocephalus.  According to BugGuide:  “Native to, and widespread in S. & C. Europe, established and spreading in w. NA (BC-OR-ID-UT)” and “Invades homes during summer, may stay through the winter.” 

Subject:  Can you identify this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Andalusia, spain
Date: 01/20/2018
Time: 09:24 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, I was recently clearing ground, mainly olliander, and there were dozens (if not hundreds) of these small bugs. I assume that are some form of bark beetle, but can you help?
They are about 8-10 mm in size and this was in January 2018
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks in advance

Soldier Bugs

These are not Bark Beetles.  They are True Bugs and we located a matching image on Insects of Spain, but it is not identified.  Continued research led us to Honey Guide where we found images identified as Ground Bugs, Spilostethus pandurus.  That scientific name led us to Fauna and Funghi of Malta and the common name Soldier Bug and the information:  “A common insect often found solitary on wild plants or on the ground in vegetated areas. It is 12-15mm long and easily spotted due to its conspicuous red/black colour pattern. Despite it can be easily detected and caught by predators, it defends itself from them by secreting pungent odours and have a very repulsive taste, hence the predator will not eat another specimen of this species. It have pecial needle-like mandibles by which it pierce vegetative parts or other insects to feed on.”  iNaturalist verified the common name Soldier Bug as well as numerous sightings in Spain.

Soldier Bug

Soldier Bug

Subject:  Haven’t seen this before
Geographic location of the bug:  Seattle
Date: 11/24/2017
Time: 04:40 PM EDT
Found a bunch mostly dead outside in a plastic bin that had contained firewood a week ago (early in November) and just now spotted this one in the basement.  They’re about a cm long including legs and antennae.
How you want your letter signed:  Liz

Mediterranean Seed Bug

Dear Liz,
Despite the lack of clarity in your image, the Mediterranean Seed Bug, an Invasive Exotic species, it still recognizable. 

Subject:  insects on milkweed plants
Geographic location of the bug:  Manhattan Beach, CA
Date: 11/05/2017
Time: 12:36 PM EDT
What is it?   Have never seen it before in 20 years at this location.   Is it beneficial or a bit of a problem? These plants also get hit by yellow aphids – I am hoping these red and black beauties eat aphids
How you want your letter signed:  Sue Randolph

Large Milkweed Bugs: Adults and Nymphs

Dear Sue,
These are Large Milkweed Bugs, and they will not harm your milkweed plants, but they do feed on the seeds and seed pods, which does not harm the plant, but will reduce the number of viable seeds for next year.  Like many insects that feed on milkweed, Large Milkweed Bugs have aposomatic or warning coloration.  Large Milkweed Bugs are also reported to feed on oleander.  Many True Bugs that feed on plants are also reported to feed on smaller insects, and we would love to fantasize that Large Milkweed Bugs might occasionally feed on Oleander Aphids.

Large Milkweed Bugs

Thank you –  I will let them enjoy themselves 🙂

Subject:  Would love to is this bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Eastern panhandle of WV
Date: 10/22/2017
Time: 11:06 AM EDT
This bug is in a large grouping in my raised bed which not has leaf litter and many dying zinnias. There is also parsley in the area.
How you want your letter signed:  Sandra

Milkweed Bug Nymphs

Dear Sandra,
These are immature Seed Bugs in the family Lygaeidae, and immature individuals can be difficult to identify conclusively.  Was there any milkweed near where they were found?  These look like Milkweed Bug nymphs to us, but we cannot state for certain if they are Small Milkweed Bug nymphs,
Lygaeus kalmii, which are pictured on BugGuide, or Large Milkweed Bug nymphs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, which are also pictured on BugGuide.