Currently viewing the tag: "Milkweed Meadow"

Subject:  Red and black bug
Geographic location of the bug:  Laguna Beach CA
Date: 08/04/2018
Time: 01:25 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  These bugs are constantly  on my milk weed Will they hurt the small monarch caterpillars?
How you want your letter signed:  KathyG

Large Milkweed Bug

Dear KathyG,
This is a Large Milkweed Bug,
Oncopeltus fasciatus, and it is part of the rich diversity of insects that are associated with milkweed.  Large Milkweed Bugs will not harm your Monarch Caterpillars nor will they harm the plants, but they will reduce the number of viable seeds the plant produces because according to BugGuide:  “Seeds of milkweed plants.”  Like Monarchs, they benefit from the toxins produced by milkweed plants and like Monarchs, they sport aposomatic warning colors because 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.” 

Subject:  Feathery Tiara
Geographic location of the bug:  Andover, NJ
Date: 08/03/2018
Time: 03:14 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi Daniel,
I found this very festive beetle (I think?) on my common milkweed today.  I’ve gone through several searches for beetles with feathery antenna  and can’t find anything that quite matches this little guy.  The overall look of it makes me think it might be a nymph form of something.  Hoping you can ID it for me.
How you want your letter signed:  Deborah Bifulco

Wedge Shaped Beetle: Macrosiagon limbata

Dear Deborah,
This is a Wedge Shaped Beetle in the family Ripiphoridae, and thanks to this image on BugGuide, we have identified it as
Macrosiagon limbata.  This is a new species in a very underrepresented genus on our site.  According to BugGuide: “Adults on flowers of goatweed (Capraria), elderberry (Sambucus), thoroughwort (Eupatorium), beebalm (Monarda), goldenrod (Solidago), mountain mint ( Pycnanthemum),” and “They go through hypermetamorphosis. The female deposits eggs on flowers frequented by bees. The first instar is a planidum, an active larva capable of climbing on a bee or bumble bee (their hosts). They are transported to the bee nest where they behave as parasitoids. The following instars don’t have legs and feed on the bee larvae and stored pollen and nectar.”  Of the family, BugGuide notes:  “bee/wasp parasites lay eggs on/near flowers, sometimes inside flower buds. Larvae attach to visiting bees and are taken back to nest, where they are internal parasites of larval hymenoptera, in some cases only in early stages. Some are reported to feed on leaves in later stages. Adults are short-lived.”  Thank you for this marvelous addition to our archives.

Thank you so very much for the ID!  I found the genus in my Beetles of Eastern NA after you gave me the id and read up a little on them.  Fascinating, and I feel so very fortunate to have seen one.  I need to start keeping a yard list of all the insects I’ve seen here. Thank you again, and have a great weekend.  I’m off to see what I can find in the garden…

You are most welcome Deborah.  There is a pretty good record of your sightings on WTB?  You can use the search engine with your name to bring them all up.

Subject:  egg or pupa on milkweed
Geographic location of the bug:  Azle, Tx
Date: 08/01/2018
Time: 12:43 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found several of these on my milkweed which was also infested with aphids.  Please help me identify this creature.
How you want your letter signed:  Joanne

Hover Fly Pupa and Oleander Aphid (at far right)

Dear Joanne,
This is the pupa of a beneficial Hover Fly or Flower Fly in the family Syrphidae, and while in the larval stage, they feed voraciously on Aphids.  Adult Hover Flies are also excellent pollinators that mimic stinging wasps and bees, though they are perfectly harmless to humans.  We located a matching image on BugGuide, and there is also a small image at the bottom of the Bugs and Critters in my Florida Back Yard blog.

Thank you!  Do you know if Hover Flies are harmful to Monarch caterpillars?
Joanne

Hi aganin Joanne.  They are not harmful to Monarch caterpillars.

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: 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.”

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.