Insects 2020, 11, 485 2 of 14 Milkweed plants (Asclepias spp.) To get rid off these pests, first, you have to distinguish them from the other harmful butterflies. Two different species of milkweed bug in the family Hemiptera, Lygaeus kalmii and Oncopeltus fasciatus, are coloured with bright orange and black markings. Adult milkweed bugs occasionally take nectar from milkweed flowers or suck sap from the milkweed plant. It has a long proboscis and is a piercing sucking insect. Predators therefore are thought to shun any insects with these colours. Just like the Monarch butterfly, whose larvae feed on Milkweed, which makes the adult also safe from most predators, the chemicals in the Milkweed latex (sap) is toxic. Hereof, what eats a milkweed bug? It feeds on the seeds, leaves and stems of milkweed (Asclepias). Many animals use a strategy for protection from predators where they move around in large groups. This is an adult Large Milkweed Bug. However, when milkweed is scarce, it can shift from being a herbivore to a scavenger and predator. Milkweed bugs are mostly seen feasting on milkweed plants. The most commonly seen ones are: Milkweed Bug Control. Unfortunately, not every insect that sets up home on your milkweed will benefit the health of your garden. Many of the bugs that feed, breed and live on milkweed are beneficial to have around your garden, either because of the role they play as pollinators or as predators of other pest species. This helps to control the milkweed plant, which can be invasive but is also an important food source and breeding location for monarch butterflies. If Milkweed Bugs Are Toxic to Predators Why Do They Swarm Together? Because the Milkweed Bugs feed on Milkweed, these insects are fairly safe from predators. They’re generally considered a beneficial insect because their feeding activity can end the life cycle of milkweed plants. And just like the monarch caterpillars which sequester and concentrate the toxins in their own bodies, giving them a bitter taste and protection against predators, many other milkweed insects – including milkweed bugs, milkweed longhorn beetles, and milkweed leaf beetles – have developed ways for using the toxins in their own defense, too. Organism I: Milkweed flowers are among the many this fuzzy, nectivorous insect visits for food and to gather pollen for its young. produce cardenolides, and the interactions among milkweed, its specialist herbivorous insects, and predators, represent an important model system in chemical There are various opinions about how this offers protection but it does seem to benefit some species. They advertise their toxicity to predators with aposematic coloration, which repels predators. Like monarch butterflies, large milkweed bugs sequester toxic cardiac glycosides from the milkweed plant. As many insects are present on milkweed plants, you need to be sure you are dealing with the right one. Milkweed bugs harmful to predators By Peter L. Warren Special to the Arizona Daily Star Nov 13, 2015 Nov 13, 2015; Milkweed bugs protect themselves by ingesting the milky sap of the milkweed vine. The latex contains cardiac glycosides, a type of cardenolide. Click to see full answer. The bodies of milkweed bugs contain toxic compounds derived from the sap which they suck from milkweed. Aposematism is the advertising by an animal to potential predators that it is not worth attacking or eating. It is found in small groups on milkweed often on the stems, leaves and on the seed pods. Why? The milkweed leaf beetle shares the same colour-scheme as the milkweed bugs and the Monarch and Viceroy butterflies. Unless you’re a milkweed plant farmer, milkweed bugs in the garden don’t require any type of control. Milkweed is this bug's primary food source. 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