Saturday, August 21, 2010

Milkweed Bugs

If you grow milkweed, more than likely you have seen this orange-red and black insect. It is the milkweed bug. Milkweed bugs feed on the pods and seeds of milkweed. They are harmless and can be good for controlling milkweed overpopulation in the home garden. The downside to that is that they damage and cause deformity to the seed pods preventing collection of seeds for those who would like to grow more milkweed.

They have a lifespan of about one month and during that time the female can lay up to 2000 eggs. Like ladybugs, they do not go through complete metamorphosis; they go through a series of molts. You can see the varying instar stages in the collage above.

This year they were prolific in my garden and were treated as pests. They were either smashed or collected in a bucket of soapy water. Not to worry, there are still plenty there to control my milkweed population!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I am thankful for the rain this morning. The flowers were drooping and the grass was just about dead. I am looking forward to some cooler weather! We have had the opposite summer compared to last year. Instead of the cool rainy weather, we have had a very hot and dry summer with twenty-eight days of temperatures in the 90's. I don't think we even hit 90 last summer.

Thank you all for your kind comments and the welcome back!


Randy Emmitt said...


I like these guys also. Have you seen the Swamp Milkweed bug? It looks like a giant beetle. Once I won a photography contest with a photo of milkweed fluff and Milkweed Bugs. Wish I knew where that photo is now.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

That is a lot of bugs,in fact too many for my liking.We too have had many hot days and I can hardly wait for cooler fall temperatures.

A Garden of Threads said...

Wow, that is a lot of bugs Robin. I have the same bugs here and they eat my Manitoba Maples, which is Ok as they are a weed tree. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Darla said...

Oh yeah I have these bugs all over my milkweed. Thanks for the info on them. I just caught up on your posts...I am so sorry to hear of all the things you are dealing with right now. You just gotta trust in the Lord Robin...sigh

Rose said...

One of my butterfly weed plants was covered with these insects the other day--thanks for identifying them for me! I left them alone; as long as the same plant comes up next year, I'll be happy.

Glad you finally got some rain--we got a little yesterday morning, but sure could use some more. And yes, we could use some cooler temps as well:)

Cameron said...

The milkweed bugs have eaten all the seeds on my swamp milkweed this year.

I know you've been through a lot lately, glad you are blogging again.

Take care.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have these bugs in my garden too. UGH. I hate seeing a big conglomeration of them on a stem.

Kylee from Our Little Acre said...

Good to see you back, Robin! You've had a rough year. I hope it's all downhill from here on!

We've got tons of those milkweed bugs, too. We've also got the milkweed beetle. Something killed a couple of our Monarch caterpillars this week, which makes me sad. :-( That's three dead ones that I've found this summer already.

Wonder why the milkweed bugs are so plentiful this year? Perhaps the weather is a factor?

Jan (VA Zone 7A) said...

No milkweed bugs here...just milkweed aphids! Yellow ones. No blooms on any of the milkweed plants, either. Had really been hoping to attract some monarchs this year. Oh well, maybe next year.

Gail said...

They are Halloween colored bugs! I had them last year, but this year the asclepias failed to set seed. Glad you're back! gail

deb mills said...

so glad to see you back! i've missed your wonderful photos.

Annelie said...

Nice blog!
Gosh, milkweed, sounds so familiar, and the bugs look familiar too. Need to investigate in my labels, maybe I have milkweed.
Love what you taught me about watermelon and butterflies below. I will try that next time we have melon.
Sorry to read about your mother below. Sounds hard. Hope you're heeling.


Jayne said...

I don't think I have seen these on my milkweed. I do, however, have at least a million orange aphids. At least my milkweed are blooming, even with the aphids.

Kerri said...

This is a FABULOUS collage Robin!
I have been a bit lax in commenting lately ~ but hope to get better aboout that soon :)