Saturday, August 21, 2010
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!