What's on my Milkweed?

Kristy AsaoJuly 24, 2014

Good week to ya!

I'm finding this on 1 Milkweed. They look like red ants crawling around. What is it? Thank you!

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Looks like red ants:)

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:52PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Do you have aphids on your milkweed? I think the ants like to harvest some sweet excretion from the aphids. If you have aphids they are usually oleander aphids, a yellow-orange color and they like to colonize the growth tips. I usually just brush them off. Real easy if you use a clean paint or basting brush.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 7:39PM
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Kristy Asao

Oh yeah, I got aphids. Some always get the aphids. They always come back. Thank you.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 12:50AM
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Kristy Asao

If I didn't know any better and I don't know all the pests for Milkweed I'd say I'd have Milkweed beetle larvae. The "ants" don't go on the aphids. So gross that honeydew comes from their butt!!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:14PM
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What you have are Milkweed Bug nymphs. They will become black and red "true bugs" (Hemipterans) and overwinter as adults. They look a great deal like Box Elder Bugs, to which they are related.
Milkweed Beetle larvae live within the stems and roots and generally aren't seen.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:03PM
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Kristy Asao

There you are Leaf! Do I do something about them? What do I do about them? Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 8:14PM
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It depends upon whether or not you want to collect and distribute seed, as these little critters congregate on the growing seed pods and lower seed viability. I'm ambivalent about giving them the Big Pinch, so I let them stay and collect only from uninhabited plants and seed pods. Last two seasons, I have been lacking the bugs and battling the beetles, which can really create havoc with plant growth and appearance.
The Milkweed Bugs don't do much damage unless they get really out of hand.
And don't get me started on aphids...

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 2:52AM
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