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

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 🙂

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Please identify this bug
Location: Irvine, CA
August 22, 2017 1:33 pm
This bug is hanging out on my milkweed plant. Please help me identify it so I can get rid of it.
Thank you!
Signature: Marta Rosener

Large Milkweed Bug and Oleander Aphids

Dear Marta,
The large insect in your image is a Large Milkweed Bug, and though they suck juices from plants, they feed mainly on the seeds and seed pods which will reduce the number of viable seeds produced by the plant, but it will not harm the plant.  The tiny, yellow Oleander Aphids are another story and they are injurious to the young shoots of your milkweed plants, but it also appears that the Large Milkweed Bug might be feeding on the Aphids.  According to BugGuide:  “In the course of feeding these bugs accumulate toxins from the milkweed, which can potentially sicken any predators foolish enough to ignore the bright colors which warn of their toxicity.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: catapillar species?
Location: Fullerton, California
August 15, 2017 6:37 am
Have found several of these on a California native milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis. They are quite sedentary and don’t seem to be eating the leaves or flowers. They are hard to photograph clearly, as the ‘skin’ is oddly transparent.
Signature: wev

Syrphid Fly Larva on Milkweed

Dear wev,
We do not recognize your caterpillar, and unfortunately, searching online for caterpillars on milkweed leads to Monarch Butterfly Caterpillars, which this is clearly not.  We will attempt to research this further, but meanwhile, we will post it as unidentified.  Perhaps one of our readers will recognize it.

Ed. Note:  August 16, 2017
Thanks to a comment from Cesar Crash, we agree this is most likely the larva of a Syrphid Fly (see BugGuide ) which would mean it was probably feeding on Aphids.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is that bug drinking from my milkweed plants?
Location: Massachusetts
August 12, 2017 5:25 pm
I saw a few of these very dark large wasp-like fliers feeding from my common milkweed plants today. Coastal Massachusetts. Very quick flier. Hard to get close to. Thanks!!!
Rob S.
Signature: Rob

Great Black Wasp

Hi Rob,
This is a Great Black Wasp and this image is gorgeous.  Female Great Black Wasps hunt Katydids to provision an underground nest where the larval wasps are developing.  The Great Black Wasp, 
Sphex pensylvanicus, and the Great Golden Digger Wasp, Sphex ichneumoneus, are classified together in the same genus.   This submission and your previous two postings are all being archived on our Milkweed Meadow tag.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Is this a Bombus affinis?
Location: Massachusetts USA
August 11, 2017 7:18 am
Is this bumblebee feeding on a milkweed plant in Massachusetts a Bombus affinis?
Rob S
Signature: Rob

Possibly Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee

Dear Rob,
This does indeed look like a Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee, a species represented on BugGuide with sightings in the midwest, though BugGuide does state:  “MN to IN, plus a few remaining sites on east coast, see map per Xerces Society. Formerly Upper Midwest and Eastern North America: Ontario to New Brunswick, south to North Carolina. Historically known from more than 25 states.”  BugGuide also provides this sobering information:  “Declines of this species were first noted by John S. Ascher at Ithaca, New York, ca. 2001 when populations that were conspicuous in the late 1990s could not be located. At this and many other localities across its historic range affinis is no longer detected, but it has been shown to persist locally in the midwest and in New England.  Abrupt and severe declines of this and other bumble bee species in this subgenus were widely reported soon after development of the commercial bumble bee industry and detection of high rates of parasitism in managed colonies.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced (Sept. 21, 2016) that it is proposing to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act.”  According to the Xerces Society:  “The rusty patched bumble bee is a species of bumble bee native to eastern North America. Its’ workers and males have a small rust-colored patch on the middle of their second abdominal segment. This bee was once commonly distributed throughout the east and upper Midwest of the United States, but has declined from an estimated 87% of its historic range in recent years. The rusty-patched bumble bee was once an excellent pollinator of wildflowers, cranberries, and other important crops, including plum, apple, alfalfa and onion seed.  Responding to a petition filed by the Xerces Society in 2013 to list the rusty patched bumble bee as an endangered species under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) finalized the ruling and gave the rusty patched bumble bee endangered status under the ESA in January of 2017.”  If your identification and our confirmation are correct, you might want to report your significant Massachusetts sighting to the Bumble Bee Watch as recommended by the Xerces Society Citizen Science program.

Thank you very much Daniel!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What is this feeding on milkweed?
Location: Massachusetts USA
August 11, 2017 7:17 am
What is this insect feeding on milkweed in coastal Massachusetts? Thank you!!!!
Signature: Rob S

Great Golden Digger Wasp

Dear Rob,
Flowers from milkweed are a great source of food for nectaring insects, including this gorgeous Great Golden Digger Wasp.  This is a solitary wasp and it is not aggressive towards humans.  Great Golden Digger Wasps prey on Katydids that the female paralyzes and provides as food for her brood that develops in an underground chamber.

Wow Daniel! Thank you for the ID and the information!
Rob S.
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination