Photo by Melody

Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus)

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Order: Hemiptera (he-MIP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Lygaeidae
Genus: Oncopeltus
Species: fasciatus (fash-ee-AY-tus) (Info)

Profile:

No positives
9 neutrals
3 negatives

Regional...

This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Daphne, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Bellefonte, Arkansas
Deer, Arkansas
Marion, Arkansas
Fremont, California
Huntington Beach, California
Long Beach, California
Redondo Beach, California
Belleair, Florida
Boca Raton, Florida
Brent, Florida
Broadview-pompano Park, Florida
Cheval, Florida
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Conway, Florida
Coral Springs, Florida
Fruitville, Florida
Gulfport, Florida
Indian Harbour Beach, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Jupiter, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Longboat Key, Florida
Macgregor, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Palm Shores, Florida
Port Orange, Florida
Saint James City, Florida
South Venice, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
St Petersburg, Florida
Suncoast Estates, Florida
Clarkesville, Georgia
Lula, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Palatine, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Davenport, Iowa
Wichita, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Abbeville, Louisiana
Chackbay, Louisiana
Covington, Louisiana
Hammond, Louisiana
Kaplan, Louisiana
Scott, Louisiana
Millersville, Maryland
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Marshfield, Missouri
Beatrice, Nebraska
Clearbrook Park, New Jersey
Himrod, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Ellerbe, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cheviot, Ohio
Corning, Ohio
Deer Park, Ohio
Defiance, Ohio
Fruit Hill, Ohio
Galion, Ohio
Sheffield Lake, Ohio
Harrah, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Laflin, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Wayne Heights, Pennsylvania
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Lakesite, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Smyrna, Tennessee
Cedar Park, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Grey Forest, Texas
Hill Country Village, Texas
Houston, Texas
Lakehills, Texas
Mesquite, Texas
Pecan Grove, Texas
Roman Forest, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Santa Fe, Texas
Spring, Texas
Mc Lean, Virginia
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

By Vee8ch
Thumbnail #1 of Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) by Vee8ch

By Vee8ch

Thumbnail #2 of Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) by Vee8ch

By princessnonie

Thumbnail #3 of Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) by princessnonie

By Magpye

Thumbnail #4 of Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) by Magpye

By Magpye

Thumbnail #5 of Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) by Magpye

By Magpye

Thumbnail #6 of Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) by Magpye

By Magpye

Thumbnail #7 of Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus) by Magpye

There are a total of 31 photos.
Click here to view them all!

Member Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Neutral Vee8ch On Jul 29, 2006, Vee8ch from Palm Bay, FL
(Zone 9b) wrote:

Milkweed bugs are colored orange (or orange-red) and black. They have a long proboscis which they use to pierce the milkweed seed and inject salivary enzymes used to digest their food. Legs are delicate. Adult milkweed bugs have full grown wings which cover the abdomen.

They eat the seeds and tissue of the milkweed plant (Asclepias curassavica.)

Milkweed bugs have few predators because they concentrate in their bodies bad tasting compounds found in the sap of milkweed plants.

Milkweed bugs often gather in groups on the milkweed plant. This gregarious behavior probably enhances their warning coloration.

Neutral Magpye On Aug 21, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a) wrote:

Although they might be considered a nuisance by gardeners trying to propagate milkweeds, and they sometimes congregate in large numbers on or near buildings like the boxelder and golden raintree bugs - large milkweed bugs are not usually accorded pest status.

This North American native ranges from Massachusetts to Florida in the East, westward to Texas, the Rocky Mountains, and California, and southward to Texas and Brazil.

The aposomatically colored bugs warn potential predators that they are unpalatable. In the process of feeding of milkweed seeds they sequester toxins from the host plant.

Females lay eggs in crevices between milkweed pods, producing as many as 2000 each. Individuals develop from egg to adult in about one month at 85F, and adults live for about one month.

Negative butterhum On Sep 9, 2006, butterhum from Hammond, LA wrote:

I cultivate a butterfly and hummingbird garden. I have these bugs all over my milkweed plant as I write! I didn't realize that they were harmful. How do I get rid of them in an environmentally friendly way?

Neutral sallyg On Sep 11, 2006, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b) wrote:

I've had these guys in my patch of common milkweed, which is 10-12 years here. The bugs are bad some years and scarce others, but the milkweed still spreads. The bugs seeems to gather on the pods most. They are a sucking insect so I question whether they are making holes in leaves.
If you want to open the pods and get nice seeds with lots of fluff , you may want to keep the bugs off; they seem to spoil them- see Magpye's comment about feeding on the seeds.

Neutral Lonne99 On Nov 12, 2006, Lonne99 from Houston, TX
(Zone 9a) wrote:

I found a large number of these bugs on my milkweed, which is currently home to several caterpillars. I didn't want to harm the caterpillars, so I just directed a strong spray of water at the bugs to dislodge them. It worked well -- and the few bugs still on the plant were dead (maybe drowned?).

Negative Silly_Sane On Aug 18, 2007, Silly_Sane wrote:

Thumping them off or blasting with water only sends them away. They have wings and will fly away to return to the plants later so biggest negative is they make the plants look ugly

Negative LindaTX8 On Feb 19, 2009, LindaTX8 from NE Medina Co., TX
(Zone 8a) wrote:

You can squish them with your hands or throw them on the ground then stomp them. But if the latter, they may fly away before you can stomp them.

Neutral iamkaym On Apr 10, 2009, iamkaym from Port Orange, FL wrote:

The bugs are an intricate part of the lifecycle of the milkweed and you are not going to get rid of them. They generally come after the caterpillars are in the 4th instar so they don't interfer with the Monarch butterfly's life cycle. While the caterpillars are in pupae the leaves will grow back and be ready for the next batch of caterpillars.

I find milkweed to be a weedy-looking plant most of its life but they are important to the Monarch. I keep my milkweed against a sunny wall in an area that is used mainly as a walkway. Masses of penta in other parts of the garden give me a view of butterflies from the back porch.

Neutral happy_girl On Sep 6, 2009, happy_girl from Redondo Beach, CA
(Zone 10b) wrote:

We have several vines on a chain link fence that separates our property from our neighbors. On that fence we have a mandevilla laxa vine, stephanotis vine and a passionflower vine.

Earlier this summer, we noticed adult beetles on the mandevilla vine - saw some mating going on. Two weeks ago, we saw a large cluster of red/orange babies on the mandevilla seed pods. We cut off the seed pods and forgot about it. Today, we saw another large cluster of babies on another seed pod.

Since we don't have milkweed, we're assuming these milkweed bugs also go far soft vines?

Does anyone know what kind of damage these bugs can cause (if any)? Also, what is the recommendation for removing them?

I've rated them 'neutral' as I don't know what havoc they can wreak. It's a little disconcerting to see so many tiny babies all over the seed pods. I like to remove dead leaves and spider webs from around and under the vine growth however I keep worrying that my hand will come out covered with orange crawly things and I sure don't want that!

Neutral Donut1106 On Jul 23, 2010, Donut1106 from Saint Petersburg, FL wrote:

Help, I have tons of these ornage bugs (or something that looks very similar) gathered all close together on my Yardlong beans and also on my Corn crop (which pill bugs ate the whole crop of corn ears).Anyone know of a very similar looking bugs on crops ? I don't know whether to kill them if they eat the plants, or protect them if they are eating the bad bugs (armyworms and pill bugs). Any feedback would be appreciated.

Neutral gardengirlgeek On Aug 31, 2010, gardengirlgeek from Milwaukee, WI wrote:

I, too, have found a plethora of these bugs on my butterfly weed, which I know is a type of milkweed. I have common milkweed in another area of my garden, but so far, haven't seen any of them on those.
I don't know whether to be concerned b/c I don't know whether they serve some beneficial function or will ultimately destroy all the milkweed/butterfly weed plants, or harm other plants. So far they're just congregating on all the pods. I haven't tried to destroy them but it would probably be relatively easy, since they're all clustered. Does anyone know what the best course is?
And BTW, hello All, I'm new to this site and it looks like a really great resource.

Neutral fulxmom On Jul 16, 2012, fulxmom from Long Beach, CA wrote:

I feel better after reading all the comments. I don't care about the seeds, in fact I pick the pods off my "Scarlett Milkweed" as quickly as I can to prevent the seeds from blowing in the neighborhood. I have another milkwee that I think is a "swamp weed" ...the seed pods are round, hairy balls....they have deflated some on that one which annoys me. But if in the big picture, they don't disturb the butterfly/caterpillars, I guess they will just add an interesting focus to the yard. I'm in So Cal.

Timer: 25.23 jiffies (0.25225305557251).


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