Orange bug infestation?

I zoomed this photo in larger so that you can see that my so called orange flower buds on the ‘Whorled Milkweed’ are actually bugs! Bright orange bugs! They are so teeny-tiny that you need a magnifying glass to make out that these dots have legs…Don’t I feel stupid! When I got up really close and really studied the stems I realize those orange dots were moving, so they are not flowers. At one point I even thought they might be Monarch Butterfly Eggs until they started crawling around that is. I did some research on the internet yesterday and thought at first they might be the Milkweed Bug which is a beetle that sucks the juice from the plant. They have no predator per se because their diet makes them taste terrible to birds and other insects. Then I did some further research and found pictures that let me know this is the “Yellow Milkweed Aphid” which also sucks the juices from the plant, but their enemy is the Lady Beetle. Which is great news! I love attracting Lady Beetles to the garden, they are a wonderful beneficial insect. In addition, the information I read stated they don’t do any permanent damage to the plant which was my main concern. Hopefully they will co-exist with the Monarch Butterfly eggs. Anyhow I am still keeping an eye out for any butterfly activity in that area of the garden. I did notice something that look sort of like a cocoon. The pictures I kept trying to get of it were blurry. It was very tiny, grayish lump on the underside of one of the tiny leaves of the Milkweed. Hmmm…..


20 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by OhioMom on August 10, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Don’t know about the bugs, but the pic is cool!


  2. Posted by I likE plants! on August 10, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    there has to be at least ten different kinds of bugs that flock to my milkweed it seems to be a magnet. I love it though it brings in our beautiful Monarchs!


  3. Posted by tina on August 10, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    I thought they looked like aphids. They shouldn’t harm the plant but if it looks too bad, just hose them off. They do look like a flower-a moving flower!


  4. Posted by cindee on August 10, 2008 at 3:17 pm

    Yikes look like aphids to me too. Ewwww…where are the ladybugs when you need them???(-:


  5. Posted by Dave on August 10, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Yep aphids alright! Do what Tina said just in case. I wouldn’t want to use insecticidal soap as it might effect the caterpillars. I don’t like aphids much. I’ve been fighting them on my crab apple.


  6. Posted by Kathleen on August 10, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve read that a natural remedy for getting rid of aphids is to put banana peels at the base of the affected plant ~ I’ve never tried it so I have no clue if it works or not. I thought it would be a neat experiment to try tho??


  7. Posted by Gardening By Mistake on August 10, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Definitely aphids! Although it never works for me with mites, many people recommend hitting the insects with a blast of water.

    A tiny, greyish cocoon would not be a monarch cocoon. You can see pictures of that here. One fall I started with monarch eggs and followed the cycle to the release of the butterfly. I took pictures of it along the way.


  8. Posted by Mother Nature on August 10, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    I must plant milkweed. I have seed and never have gotten them going for one reason or another. We have beautiful butterfly weed that grows along the roadsides. I never see monarchs. I was once fortunate to see a monarch migration come through our area in Mississippi. They were in all levels of the sky as high as you could see.


  9. Posted by Perennial Gardener on August 10, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks everyone, I did as Tina & Dave suggested with a blast of cold water. They scurried to the ends of the earth. lol I came in just in time too, cause it is thundering & lightening out there. I hope it pours! Everyone cross your fingers, my plants are mighty thirsty! 😉


  10. Posted by Nancy J. Bond on August 10, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    I hope that your rain lasts long enough to do some good, and that your bugs vacate the premises. 🙂


  11. Posted by Susie on August 10, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    P.G.-I remember reading on another blog that aphids like the inside of a banana peel. So if your little creatures come back maybe try that.


  12. Posted by Perennial Gardener on August 10, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    We got alittle bit of rain, not enough to fill up my rain barrels. 😦 We’re suppose to get these freak storms all week so maybe we will accumulate something. I will go check on the bugs later and I will have to give the banana peel a try. A couple people mentioned that. Thanks everyone! 🙂


  13. Posted by LetsPlant on August 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm

    I thought they were flowers for sure. Good luck in your battle.


  14. Posted by Cindy on August 10, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Yuck, I hate aphids! The banana peel trick really does work. I use it all the time, especially on my roses. It looks a little funny to see banana peels laying at the base of your plants but it really does work. Blasting them off with the hose is my favorite way of getting rid of them though. Never fails! Hope you find some butterfly activity here soon!


  15. Posted by Brenda Kula on August 10, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    I’ve never tried that, but thought about the plant. Isn’t that weird when you get close up and see that actually you’re watching moving bugs? Eerie feeling to me.


  16. Posted by The Garden Faerie on August 10, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    I’d seen these before and didn’t know what they were–glad we now know aphids. Did you get the rain? We did and about time too!
    ~ Monica


  17. Posted by Perennial Gardener on August 10, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    They sure did look like flowers from a distance and it was very creepy when I got up close & realized they were moving. Ewww! lol I got to try this banana peel thing, everyone keeps mentioning it. The hose thing worked pretty quickly but some of them came back. 😦 They don't seem to be hurting the plant though. I got very little rain…they're calling for freak storms all week. Maybe I'll get some more! 🙂 Thanks everyone.


  18. Posted by Laurie and Chris on August 11, 2008 at 1:17 am

    I get these on my lupine they drive me crazy.They do have a powder and a spray that won’t hurt your plants or animals.


  19. Posted by Perennial Gardener on August 11, 2008 at 2:24 am

    Someone mentioned spraying them with cold water, they did leave for awhile. I’m going to try the banana peel thing next.


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