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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

17 Large Milkweed Bug Facts You’ll Never Forget

Large milkweed bug facts about the true bugs that are used as research insects

Large milkweed bug (oncopeltus fasciatus) is a widely spread bug that inhabits disturbed areas, roadsides, and open pastures. It is found on the stems, leaves, and seeds of the milkweed plant (asclepias) where it eats from. Small milkweed bugs are often used in laboratory experiments because they are easy to handle. These bugs, with the black band on their abdomen, also feed on the seeds of sunflower, watermelon, almond, and cashew. The small milkweed species can be divided into migrators and non-migrators. The northern population of large milkweed bugs has the greatest tendency to cover long distances as they are highly migratory.  Whereas, the southern population of these bugs have the lowest tendency to migrate. The tropical population has a shorter tendency to migrate.

Here are some interesting facts about the common milkweed bugs for your perusal. Afterwards, do check these stink bug facts and giant water bug facts.

Large Milkweed Bug Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a large milkweed bug?

The large milkweed bug is a herbivorous insect that belongs to the Lygaeidae family. A small milkweed bug is a solitary creature as it is often found living alone but also found in a small group.

What class of animal does a large milkweed bug belong to?

Like the monarch butterfly, large and small milkweed bugs belong to the insecta class of animals.

How many large milkweed bug are there in the world?

There is no recorded number regarding how many milkweed bugs there are in the world.

Where does a large milkweed bug live?

The large milkweed bug inhabits disturbed areas, roadsides, and open pastures of North America, Central America, Mexico, Caribbean and Canada.

What is a large milkweed bug's habitat?

The large milkweed bug inhabits seed pods, steams and leaves of the milkweed plants across their habitat of temperate fields and meadows containing milkweed plants and seed pods. They migrate south during the fall season.

Who do large milkweed bug live with?

The large milkweed bug species live in small groups on the stems, leaves and seed pods of milkweed plants. It can be found along the patches of land where milkweed plants are present during early summer or spring.

How long does a large milkweed bug live?

The average lifespan of large milkweed bugs is one month, although many insects die within one week of birth.

How do they reproduce?

Adult male milkweed bugs attract female ones by making a sound. They mate one week after the last molt in early summer or spring. They mate in early summer or in late spring. Female bugs lays eggs in milkweed seed pods or in the crevices between the pods within a week, and start the cycle again in the next breeding season. The number of eggs laid by the females depend on the quantity of milkweed seeds available as their diet.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of adult milkweed bugs is not of any concern at present. There are adequate numbers of these bugs present in the wild as their food sources in the form of milkweed seeds, leaves, and pods are readily available in the north and south regions they migrate to.

Large Milkweed Bug Fun Facts

What do large milkweed look like?

The large milkweed bug is a medium-sized bug with orange and black markings on its wings. Adult males have two black bands across the middle of the body. The black band is absent in females and is in fact the best way to distinguish between males and females. These seed bugs have bright orange abdomens and develop black spots as they age while at birth they are mostly red with black antennae and a few black spots.

Large milkweed bug diet comprises primarily of seeds of milkweed plants.

How cute are they?

These bugs are found cute only by people who like to study insects or are fond of them. These garden bugs might scare some people who are not fond of insects. Although they seem very dangerous, they are not. Milkweeds do not bite or sting humans or plants. These garden bugs just deform pods of common milkweed plants which can cause a reduction in the resources for the monarch caterpillar.

How do they communicate?

These insects, like the monarch butterfly, communicate through pheromones. Female bugs produce sex pheromones to attract male bugs.

How big is a large milkweed bug?

Large milkweed bugs are anywhere between 0.50-0.75 in (1.27-1.90 cm) long. This is a medium-sized bug that can be found feeding on a leaf of the milkweeds.

How fast can a large milkweed bug fly?

Large milkweed bugs can only fly when seed bugs reach adulthood. They seem very dangerous but they are not. They rather prefer feeding on a leaf of the milkweeds.

How much does a large milkweed bug weigh?

The average weight of the large milkweed bug is 0.0001 oz (0.002 g) and it is located feeding on a leaf of milkweeds in the early summer or spring.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Adult males and females of large milkweed bugs are known by the same name. They differ in size. The female bugs are larger than the male bugs.

What would you call a baby large milkweed bug ?

A baby large milkweed bug is known as a larva or nymphs at the starting stage of their life cycle. They molt after every few weeks and grow in size.

What do they eat?

Adult large milkweed bugs sting into the flower and suck out the oil and the rest of the nutrients as its food source. This pest prefers feeding on juices from seeds, leaves and stems of the milkweed plants (asclepias) as their food. Their feeding activity tends to cut short the life cycle of  milkweed plants. Small milkweed bugs also eat those insects which they find on milkweeds, including the occasional monarch caterpillar.

Known predators for milkweed bugs are queen butterfly larvae, tussock moths, bats.

Are they poisonous?

No these bugs are not venomous, like the monarch butterfly. Milkweeds do not bite or sting humans or plants. But they consume the milkweed sap, which is toxic to most of their predators.

Would they make a good pet?

They are unusual and strange pets to keep as their life cycle is extremely short like monarch butterfly. People usually tend to get rid of them and prefer not to kill them. These insects are avoided by spraying water on them. You can brush these bugs to get rid of the infestation. You may use a spray bottle and mild dish soap to remove the insects. Soapy water usually does the trick to get rid of large milkweed bugs. You must remove the leaf litter in the fall to minimize their wintering sites.

Did you know...

As of now, there is no conclusive evidence regarding spiders preying on large milkweed bugs. Moreover, as the taste of milkweed bugs is generally unpleasant to predators, they avoid eating these bugs.

How do you get rid of giant milkweed bugs?

Like the monarch butterfly, these insects are avoided by spraying water on them. You can brush these bugs to get rid of them. You may use a spray bottle filled and mild dish soap to remove the insects. Soapy water usually does the trick to get rid of large milkweed bugs.

Will milkweed bugs hurt monarchs?

No, milkweed bugs are of no harm to monarchs. These true bugs do not eat their eggs or their larvae. They are harmless to monarchs. However, as we know that large milkweed bug eat the stems and leaves of the milkweed plant, this can affect the diet of monarchs. The milkweed plant should be grown in abundance to maintain the balance between the diets of monarchs and milkweed bugs.

What animal eats milkweed bugs?

These bugs are often used in laboratory experiments because they are easy to handle. Their predators include deer and rabbits who eat the milkweed plant and are in fact accidental predators of these bugs. Bats are also their predators as they eat these bugs at night. There are some birds and some mammals who eat large milkweed bugs. Plant lice also lay black eggs on milkweed plant.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these silk worm facts and plume moth facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our large milkweed bug coloring pages .

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