Large Milkweed Bug Nymphs

florida reddish orange black spotted insect
Location: Fleming Island, FL
November 28, 2011 5:59 pm
Hello, this afternoon i discovered these bugs on my window screen in my back garden. I’ve lived in Florida for 26 years and I am an avid gardener, yet i have never seen a bug like this before. I’m located North Florida, just south of Jacksonville. Hoping your expertise can clue me in, thanks so much for your time!
Signature: Fiona

Immature Large Milkweed Bugs

Hi Fiona,
These are Large Milkweed Bug nymphs, and as their name indicates, they feed on the sap of milkweed pods and seeds.  If you are an avid gardener, and you like to attract butterflies, you are probably growing their food source, milkweed, however we have also gotten at least one report of them feeding on oleander, a common Florida shrub.  Here is a photo from BugGuide that matches your grouping’s stage of development.  They are not considered a harmful species in the garden.

Thanks so much for the quick response.  I have butterflyweed in the garden, not far from where I saw the bugs.  I have never noticed them before and have had butterflyweed for years, good to know what they are and that they are not harmful.  Now I can appreciate them for what they are – pretty red bugs!
Thanks again, Fiona


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