Large Milkweed Bugs (Oncopeltus fasciatus)

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


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Daphne, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama
Vincent, Alabama
Deer, Arkansas
Harrison, Arkansas
Marion, Arkansas
Fremont, California
Huntington Beach, California
Long Beach, California
Redondo Beach, California
Boca Raton, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Clearwater, Florida
Cocoa Beach, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Jupiter, Florida
Lake Worth, Florida
Lakeland, Florida
Longboat Key, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Merritt Island, Florida
New Port Richey, Florida
North Fort Myers, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Palm Harbor, Florida
Pensacola, Florida
Pompano Beach, Florida (2 reports)
Port Orange, Florida
Saint Cloud, Florida
Saint James City, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida (3 reports)
Sarasota, Florida
Satellite Beach, Florida
Sumterville, Florida
Venice, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Clarkesville, Georgia
Lula, Georgia
Marietta, Georgia
Oak Park, Illinois
Palatine, Illinois
Plainfield, Illinois
Davenport, Iowa
Wichita, Kansas
Hebron, Kentucky
Salvisa, Kentucky
Abbeville, Louisiana
Covington, Louisiana
Hammond, Louisiana
Kaplan, Louisiana
Merryville, Louisiana
Scott, Louisiana
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Millersville, Maryland
Dearborn Heights, Michigan
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Jackson, Missouri
Marshfield, Missouri
Beatrice, Nebraska
Jamesburg, New Jersey
Himrod, New York
Seaford, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Ellerbe, North Carolina
Raleigh, North Carolina
Cincinnati, Ohio (3 reports)
Corning, Ohio
Defiance, Ohio
Galion, Ohio
Sheffield Lake, Ohio
Harrah, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2 reports)
Waynesboro, Pennsylvania
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Yankton, South Dakota
Memphis, Tennessee
Smyrna, Tennessee
Soddy Daisy, Tennessee
Cedar Park, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Helotes, Texas
Houston, Texas
Mesquite, Texas
New Caney, Texas
Pipe Creek, Texas
Richmond, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Santa Fe, Texas
Spring, Texas
Mc Lean, Virginia
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Show all

Members' Notes:


On Jul 4, 2017, 12native34 from Sumterville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Two years ago I started squashing the milkweed bugs as soon as I saw them, so far this year I've only seen 1 bug


On Jul 24, 2016, EyeGarden from Oak Park, IL wrote:

I just read this on another site, where the blogger's butterfly weed was infested with milkweed bugs:

"We have had no further infestations of Milkweed Bugs since we started plucking the seed pods from the Butterfly Weed as soon as they appear. This has no adverse effect on the plant. In fact, it seems to promote a weak second flowering. We have no use for the seeds, and this also prevents their silky floss from blowing all over the yard."

Here is the link to the blog:

I'm going to give this a try and hope I will remember to report back.


On Nov 16, 2015, jimbarlow89 from Jupiter, FL wrote:

I have had some success controlling milkweed bugs using insecticidal soap if the outbreak is small. once the outbreak is large, I was not able to get them back under control. In my experience they damage the health of the milkweed and its ability to support Monarch butterflys.


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.


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.


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.


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 w... read more


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.


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.


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


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?).


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.


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?


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,... read more


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.