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Roger0408
Jun 27, 2016 10:54 PM CST
There are lots of tiny little red bugs on our milkweed seed pods? Are they harmful? If so, how do we get rid of them without harming the monarch catapillars?

Also, I have seen a Jay looking up into the plants. Do we have to worry about birds eating the catapillars? If so, how do we scare away the birds without disturbing the hummingbirds?

Roger
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Jun 28, 2016 3:43 AM CST
Welcome! there are two milkweed bugs, large and small:
http://www.daylilies.org/ahs_dictionary/milkweed_bugs.html
and also a milkweed beetle:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/655524

Do any of those look like your red bugs?

Regarding the birds, apparently some can eat monarch caterpillars despite the toxin:
http://www.monarchprogram.org/common-monarch-predators-and-p...

Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
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NJBob
Jun 28, 2016 6:56 PM CST
My milkweed plants get covered in aphids, I use neem oil.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Jun 28, 2016 8:20 PM CST
I just gently spray the bugs off with water - the hose set on a fine mist gets rid of the bugs but can't wash off the caterpillars. They hold on pretty tight.

I've had blue jays eat my black swallowtail caterpillars before, but not the monarchs. Not much you can do except put out some seeds for the birds so they aren't quite so hungry.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Jun 29, 2016 4:33 AM CST
The milkweed bugs and milkweed beetles probably won't be as affected by spraying with water as the less mobile pests like aphids. Aren't the aphids on milkweed usually yellow/orange rather than red? Roger, are you asking if your red bugs are harmful from the point of view of the milkweed or the monarchs? If the bugs are damaging the seed pod and you want to save seeds they might be a problem. Otherwise I wouldn't be concerned about them. Since they are on the pods I suspect they are the nymphs of one of the two milkweed bugs rather than the beetles, but if you can ID them from the links posted earlier, or post a picture of them here, we can help more.

Adding some more pics here:

http://www.restoringthelandscape.com/2011/01/milkweeds-and-t...
[Last edited by sooby - Jun 29, 2016 4:37 AM (+)]
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Name: Terri Osipov
Rome, Georgia (Zone 7b)
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IJsbrandtGA
Jun 29, 2016 7:16 AM CST
Roger, I am a miserable failure at getting milkweed seeds to germinate. I have several kinds. Is it too late to try to plant some indoors or outdoors? Do I need to wait till next year? Any tips are much appreciated! Thank You!
"Speak to the Earth and it shall teach Thee" Job 12:8

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