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Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

Posted by perennialfan273 zone 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 26, 10 at 15:03

Hello

Well, this past year I added a decent amount of organic matter to my relatively poor clay soil in a bed on the side of our house. The front of the bed gets a decent amount of light, and all of a sudden milkweed began popping up EVERYWHERE!!

Anyways...that's not why I'm posting this. There are a number of red beetles (and some larger orange beetles) congregating on the buds (I think; Large green pods...whatever they are lol) and I'm wondering if they are harmful to my milkweed plants?? There has been some discoloration of the leaves on some of the plants, but I'm not sure if an environmental factor is the cause of this or if the beetles are the ones doing the damage. I can also say that I have not seen very many caterpillars on the milkweed this season either. I don't know if the presence of the beetles has anything to do with this of not. Anyways, I'd just like some more information about these beetles.

Thank You


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

look real close on your milkweed..

if you see anything like the link below...

maybe you should keep the milkweed

we have been finding them for a couple weeks now ...

ken

Here is a link that might be useful: link


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

If they look like the insects pictured in the link below, they're just milkweed bugs - true bugs - and not really a problem unless you're looking to grow unblemished milkweed.

The pods you see now are probably seed pods. When mature, they'll pop open and you'll see the seeds and their fluffy "parachutes" inside ... but not for long, winds will carry them to other places.

We have a registered monarch waystation at our park, with a good-sized bed of milkweed, and quite a few milkweed bugs as well. It is visited by many other insects, as well, especially when the flowers are in bloom. We've noticed fewer monarchs this year, too, but it is not the fault of the bugs. Monarch populations have been declining, partially due to loss of habitat. So, if you can tolerate the somewhat weedy look, and the orange bugs (they don't sting or bite, usually leave other plants alone, but please note they, like the monarchs, taste bad and contain a toxic substance acquired from the milkweed ... more about that in the link below) maybe you could let the milkweed return year after year and you may see more monarchs. A little saucer (a shallow pot saucer is perfect) of water with some gravel in the bottom makes a good watering station for beneficial insects and is very important to their survival, especially in droughty times.

For a neater, lower-growing milkweed, you might want to try butterfly weed, botanical name is asclepias tuberosa, and the flowers are usually yellow-orange to red-orange.

Here is a link that might be useful: Milkweed bugs


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

@ken-I said BEETLES not caterpillars lol. We actually enjoy having the caterpillars around, but we haven't seen very many this year.

Agardenstateofmind-They do look a lot like the pictures in the link, but not exactly like them. I'll try to get a picture and post it tomorrow when my mom returns the camera. I'm curious to find out exactly what species this is.


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

  • Posted by a2zmom Z6 - Morris Cnty, NJ (My Page) on
    Fri, Aug 27, 10 at 13:02

I had milk weed bugs myself this year and I thought they were fascinating. I left them alone to eat the seeds because I already have more than enough milkweed plants.


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

I thought they were some sort of solder beetle - my garden is an freaking orgy of group sex with these things. I have to cover my eyes!!! LOL


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Oncopeltus fasciatus

The above photo is Oncopeltus fasciatus - Milkweed bug


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

EEEEWWWWWW! or YUCK!!


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

Actually those milkweed bugs eat the seeds in the pods, they drill a hole in the side to get in the pod. If you want to collect viable seed then make sure you collect a pod that hasn't been ruined by these bugs.

I believe there is another red bug that is a milkweed beetle that eats the foliage. Also, those orange aphids are very common on milkweed.


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

Grinder, those look EXACTLY like the orange bugs on my milkweed. Now I just need to figure out what the smaller red ones are...


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

@ken-I said BEETLES not caterpillars lol. We actually enjoy having the caterpillars around, but we haven't seen very many this year.

===>>>> i knew what you said...

i wanted to take your focus away from one.. and transfer it to a positive..'

if you were to willy nilly kill the milk weed for the orange bug.. you might have missed the monarchs ...

ken

BTW... what is a true bug ... vs an untrue bug ...


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

No. There is no bug that harms milkweed because the plant is designed to withstand being eaten! They are tough plants. They can be eaten to the ground and still bloom within weeks. Those plants are so fascinating to watch! I just let the bugs enjoy the buffet.


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

@Perennialfan: If the smaller red bugs look like those in the second picture down on the right-hand side of the link I posted, they are immature milkweed bugs. MBs have an incomplete metamorphosis (meaning that the young look very much like the adults).

@Ken: Milkweed bugs are in the order hemiptera, all of which have sucking mouthparts. This order of insects are commonly referred to as "true bugs" and includes such insects as aphids, woolly adelgids, leafhoppers, planthoppers, cicadas, stinkbugs and tens of thousands of others. I don't know whether they're called "true bugs" so as to distinguish them from the term "bug" to describe any insect, or whether there's another reason ... but I'm sure it's a lot easier for most people to handle than "hemiptera" (which really isn't so difficult, once you get used to it).

Considering their apparent promiscuity, I don't know if any bugs are really true ;-)

@Echinaceamaniac: You've sure got that right! I've seen the milkweed in our park take a lot of abuse from nature ... and still it thrives!


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

thx for the true bug explanation ..

back to the post.. my point.. if i had one [never say that to a spouse] ....

just because one bug weirds you out.. perhaps only due to volume... it does not mean there is a need for thermonuclear warfare .... plagues come and go.. year to year.. and you may never see them in said volume.. in another decade ...

weigh out the costs and benefits of other things.. before you go nutso killing off one bug... as others may be there.. and be beneficial ...

ken


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

I have loads of these Red Milkweed Beetles and their eggs, all over both varieties of my swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata, pink and white varieties). They eat the living daylights out of the leaves every year, and some of the leaves are discolored and blackened like yours, but I don't think that's because of the beetle. The plants have been hardy and come back fuller each year, so I doubt they're harming them all that much. Besides, the bees love the flowers, so I leave it all as is and let nature do its thing. Cheers!

Here is a link that might be useful: NickiGreenwood.com


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RE: Are red milkweed beetles harmful to milkweed

I get swarms of milkweed bugs every year and I never touch them. Milkweeds are seed producing factories imo, so if the bugs want to eat a few of the zillion seeds produces, have it.

At this point, I dead head that plant religiously anyway. I have two nice stands so I don't need any more.


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