What are those bugs on my Milkweed?

Milkweed Bugs and Oleander Aphids on Milkweed

I haven’t been over to the bed where my milkweed is for a few days, and imagine my surprise when I did.  It was covered with reddish-orange and black bugs called “Milkweed Bugs” and yellow aphids called “Oleander Aphids”.  I guess the question is are these bad bugs or good bugs?  The answer is bad bugs.  Milkweed bugs feed on the milkweed seeds and suck the juices from the new growth and the aphids also suck the juices from the plant.  So what can be done to get rid of them.  Since milkweed is one of  the host plants for Monarch butterfly larvae, chemical treatment is not recommended.  Milkweed bugs have few predators, as they concentrate the bad tasting toxins found in the sap of milkweed plants in their bodies.  Hand picking is about the only choice.  In severe cases, such as mine, take a small bucket of soapy water and brush the bugs into the water, where they will not survive.  Unlike the milkweed bug, oleander aphids have a number of parasites and predators, such as tiny wasps, flower fly larvae and small lady beetles.  I  wouldn’t worry too much about the aphids just continue to  monitor the situation.  If it looks like the plant is deteriorating too badly, you can try knocking the aphids off with a stout spray of water or by knocking them off into a soapy water solution.

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2 Responses to What are those bugs on my Milkweed?

  1. Those entomologists and their tricky names for insects! They are a problem here as well. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. xxoo Nancy

  2. Leslie says:

    We planted two milkweed plants in early May and they have grown like crazy, but no blooms. Should I be concerned? Haven’t seen any butterflies either. Very disappointing. Any insights?

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