Milkweed pest - what is it?

St Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

My butterfly weed/milkweed has loads of small yellow bugs on it. Anyone know what they are and if I need to do anything about them? Thanks, Karen

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

Hi nursestherapies,
Welcome to DG's I see u r new here;-)
Those little yellow bugs are probably aphids, I just get a thin cloth and smuch them and then take the hose to the ones that I miss, if you find a lady bug or two you can let them chow down on them, they love aphids.
I wouldn't use a spray because of your butterflies, I tried planting garlic with my milkweed this year to try and keep them off for next year, that's just an experiment, they are always covered with aphids I think, they will suck the life out of your plants, they are not a good thing ;-)

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

My experience has been that the little yellow suckers are specific to the milkweed plant and don't seem to do it any harm and they also don't seem to spread to any nearby plants. I ignore the bugs and let nature take its course and everybody seems to stay happy that way.

One of the nice things about having some "native" plants in my garden is that the bugs seem to prefer to eat them and leave the other hybridized plants alone. I've also had heavy infestations of red aphids on my goldenrods, but the aphids were soon a smorgasbord for a herd of ladybugs (I learned how to recognize a ladybug larva by watching their babies grow on the aphid treat), and these red aphids also stayed put on the golden rods without attacking any other plants.

I will be moving my Confederate Rose bushes this spring. They seem to be white fly magnets and the flies cause the Confederate Rose leaves to turn black with soot and mold. While the white flies did spread around to a few other plants in the area, they seemed to prefer the Confederate Rose and the flies didn't damage anyother plants. Rather than fight the white flies, I will just move the plants to a more remote location where the flies won't have much else to suck on.


This message was edited Jan 11, 2006 11:50 PM

Greenville, IN(Zone 6a)

My mom had two roses (she's gone now) and I made a mistake and planted milkweed by them last year and they got covered in aphids, the only two things I had in that bed.
I have a lot of mantis, but not that many lady bugs don't know why (unless the mantis were eating them too, I know they're not picky), I try to plant all the benificial plants that I can, anyway in the last couple of years I have learned, from my point of view, not to mix the butterfly weed and the milkweed with the other plants. They have their own special field now ;-)
Yes, those white flies are a trip too, that's a shame about your roses they are so beautiful.

St Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

I wondered if they might be beneficial bugs, but there were so many of them that I figured they were probably aphids. They were shaped like yellow rice with tiny black legs. Very active and a couple had wings. So we sprayed them with an organic mix of oils (clove, etc) and there are fewer of them today. Watered too, but some of them still there. No ladybugs in sight and the few little wasps we have go to the milkweed flower but didn't go to the bugs. Karen

Taylor Creek, FL(Zone 10a)

I removed mine with hot dish soap. just dipped flower and all in.
Scrubbed with my finger tips and rinsed with hose spray. They went down the drain.

Pinellas Park, FL(Zone 9b)

They are an aphid and in my garden, they don't bother anything but the milkweed and don't do any harm. Usually the ladybugs show up to take care of them. I don't use any chemicals because it would kill the cats also which would defeat my purpose in growing them.

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

hey jax...the confed rose (hibiscus mutablis) can get some white flies...i have found that by rinsing the confed early in the season it eases the problem...and those white flies ain't dumb...they will find it

Thumbnail by junglebob
St Augustine, FL(Zone 9a)

We got rid of most of them. No cats on these plants cause they were just planted within the last month. From now on will leave them alone and hope the ladybugs will show up. Thanks for your help. Karen

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Hey, junglebob. My confederate rose did well the first year when it was young, but the last two years it has had more white flies than leaves! I'll take your tip on rinsing it early in the year and keep spraying it down from time to time, maybe with a soapy solution. I still plan to move the confederate roses to a spot where they can grow as they wish. I've been having to prune them severely in order to keep them near the height that I want them in their current location, and I think I pruned off all the potential flowers this year or maybe the white flies had sucked them dry of energy -- not a single flower this Fall!


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