What are these on my milkweed?

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Hi,

I just bought a new batch of plants from a different nursery. These plants are younger, not yet ready to flower. I did notice a few Monarch eggs on the ones at the plant store but none on the ones I brought home.
I have this new looking critter on the milkweed. Doesn't look quite like a caterpillar- it's kind of flat with a lenghtwise stripe. Also, it's ?head end is pointed and the movement is quick and whiplike. Locomotion doesn't look right either. The Monarch cat's legs seem to ripple back to front in a wave where this moves more evenly. I've also noticed this silk blob on a couple of this batch of milkweed plants. I think these may be related. Can you tell me what this is? Friend or foe?

Thanks in advance,

Maggie

Thumbnail by margaran
(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

I know what the aphids are. I was cleaning them off when I found the new guys.

Thanks,

Maggie

Thumbnail by margaran
Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

It is a green lacewing larvae, an aphid lion, a good bug to have.

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Thanks Calalilly, I'l stop killing their food supply ;=)

Maggie

Deep South Coastal, TX(Zone 10a)

Yep, if you want the good bugs, ya gotta leave them some food to eat!

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I think it's actually a hoverfly larvae. I have them yearly on my swamp milkweed because the aphids come to it as soon as it starts growing.

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Hoverfly is a good thing? Thanks KKB.

Maggie

This message was edited Jun 29, 2005 11:21 PM

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Sorry, the larvae eat the aphids which is a good thing! I don't know what the silk blob is tho. What kind of milkweed is it?

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Hard to tell LOL! I bought them as young, not yet flowering plants with lots of leaves. At the rate the cats are going, I may not see flowers till next year! Some have red tags and some have yellow tags- supposedly to match the flower color.

Maggie

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Speaking of aphids, or something, last year, (not this year) I had my butterfly milkweed covered with little tiny orange bugs, gazillions of them, couldn't even see the leaves for the tiny orange bugs, bright orange I tell ya. have no idea, but they didn't look like aphids. I wish I had a couple of catapillars around to eat them all, I had to poison the plant to get rid of them, This year I have no little orange bugs on any of the milk weeds, But not alot of butterflies on them either.

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

That's what I've been calling aphids. I either pick them off by hand or let them be. the cats eat faster that the orange bugs/?aphids do.

Maggie

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Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Oh Kathy, don't use any poison on your milkweeds! Those aphids are normal for this plant, and they are bright yellow/orange. They are really easy to knock off with water. Even if they come back the next day, they actually don't do any damage if you just keep on them. I have a few plants that have them, and then a ton that have none. Once the cats get to the plants, they don't care, they just munch on the aphids too. But if you poison the aphids, then you run the risk of poisoning the cats too. :(

Meadows Place, TX(Zone 9a)

Just be careful to squish the Milkweed Assassin Bugs. The will kill all the Monarch Cats that they can !!. They are bright orange with long black legs and snout. Here's an image of them.

http://davesgarden.com/forums/fp.php?pid=1523522

Because of them, which I pinch them little bods with my fingers, I have had very few Monarch Cats this year.

I also found out that the red Wasps flying around all my Passion Vine have been feeding on my Gulf Fritallaries. I guess to feed their young. No, I don't squish THEM between my fingers.

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Oh yes, any assassin bug is bad news for cats. That's one reason I really try to bring in or cover as many as possible.

I had these same things recently in 2 different parts of my garden. Both times there were a big group of them. Once I did end up spraying them with some insecticidal soap tho because I wasn't sure what they were, and both times I saw them they were with these bad bugs...big footed bugs? leaf foot bugs? suddenly had a memory lapse...

I hate those horrid red wasps!!! Year before last they were swarming my bed. They would fly at me and actually hit me! They didn't ever sting me, but were apparently warning me. Last year there weren't near as many, but this year they seem to be back.

I don't have a very good success rate with my GF cats. For some reason they are easy targets for the wasps and spiders. I always find the remains of one where a spider has sucked it flat. blech! But I don't bring these guys in because the vine is too hard to feed to them. They just aren't natural eating just leaves laying flat. I had quite a few eggs recently, but soon after they had disappeared. ?

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

I've seen those before, but that's not what was all over the milkweeds last year, these were so tiny they just looked like orange dots, barely moved, and you couldn't see the leaves for all the orange dots. wish I had taken a picture of them then.

kathy

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Kathy_Ann:

Here is a link to a site with your aphids, 5th photo.

Maggie

http://whatsthatbug.com/aphids.html
What's That Bug:Aphids, Scale Insects, Leafhoppers, and Tree Hoppers

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Kathy, they could have been spider mites if they were that tiny. I had them on mine earlier this year because we haven't had any rain. I did have to spray mine with some insecticidal soap, and the only reason I did that since all of mine are planted solely for the Monarchs, is because my season of Monarchs has a little while before it gets here and my plants were going to die if I didn't get rid of them. So I sprayed them just a little then went out the next day, after someone said that water will get rid of them, and sprayed them down (up, down, all over) with the hose. Now they are fine. :)

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

woohoo maggie you hit it on the nail, that's what I had, a little worse than she had them too. Thanks

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

I'm a little confused..so you did have aphids on the milkweed but just didn't know your little orange dots were aphids. They are much bigger than spider mites.

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

Sorry, I didn't realize they were aphids, but I guess they are, they were awfully tiny, I've seen the green aphids and the red ones, but never the orange ones, I've seen spider mites before they kind of have a spider web around their action.

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Glad I could help. My cats eat faster than the aphids and it's protein for the cats.

Maggie

Burleson, TX(Zone 8a)

Maggie, how do you know that eating aphids provides protein? Have you been snacking on them?! ;)

Kathy_ann, if the milkweed aphids seem unusually small to you, I don't think I want to see those green or red ones. They must be a lot larger, and uglier.

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Well sure! Anything in the name of research ;-)

I wish I had a webcam right now as I sit on my porch watching the newly hatched monarch and the one I'm sure is about to hatch. Wish I could share it with you.

Maggie

Judsonia, AR(Zone 7b)

They must have all been babies LOL, the adult green aphids are real easy fo rme to see, but the green babies are tiny. the red ones on my tomatoes are really easy to see, their quite large

Mount Vernon, MO(Zone 6b)

I have had these orange bugs also. I thought they were aphids but not quite sure. Thanks.

(Maggie) Jacksonvill, FL(Zone 9a)

Dylangc,

Since aphids are SO common, the orange bugs are probably aphids. If they are orange & black, W/ flat back, I personally don't see them bothering my cats but they do chew up my plants. Aphids are so soft bodied that they are so easy to squish. It's much less work than spraying w/ soapy water and rinsing before the temp hits 80 degrees to avoid phytotoxic damage. Squish & rinse.

Maggie

NE Medina Co., TX(Zone 8a)

I have those Hoverfly larvae also. Once I found a live one in a container after the cats had eaten a milkweed cutting down to just a stub of the stem. The Hoverfly larvae had wisely gotten out of the way to avoid being eaten itself.

Orlando, FL(Zone 9b)

We also had hundreds of the little orange bugs on the milkweed, too many to pinch off becase they scatter so fast. I captured several in a small glass jarand took them to the county ag center. There an agent quickly identified them as Giant Milkweed Bugs - yup, that's what he called them. Just shake the plant or lightly hose them off each plant & quickly step on those that don't crawl under the mulch. They'll be back, so keep the hose handy.

Wish I had a picture to show you. They're not aphids.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Here is a picture from Bugfiles...
http://davesgarden.com/guides/bf/go/199/

Lincoln, NE(Zone 5b)

Has anyone tried planting yarrow or allium near or next to the milkweeds? The yarrow attracts the ladybugs to help keep the aphid #'s down and the allium is great because aphids don't like the smell of onions...

Central, AL(Zone 7b)

This early spring aphids are so abundant. Mostly infested tall tall trees and dropping their gruey 'honey dews' a sticky substance on top of my other plantings beneath. Luckily, I've an army of these ladybugs larvaes to battle with them aphids. Thanks goodness, cause I don't want to have to resource back to chemical for my butterflies' sakes.

Here is ladybug larva ...even at these stage, they're actively searching for aphids. Yeah!!!

Thumbnail by Lily_love
Central, AL(Zone 7b)

This is the last instar before the thing become a mature ladybug. I've a clematis vine to the side yard that's practically covered with aphids and their host predators.

Thumbnail by Lily_love

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