Well, At Least Somebody’s Enjoying The Milkweed…

We be chillin'

This handsome little fellow is a Swamp Milkweed Beetle, Labidomera clivicollis. (Photo taken with iPhone, hence lack of stylish macro-photography.)

Despite my best efforts with Google, I can’t find that anything eats him or his offspring–apparently the milkweed sap makes them taste bad. (Black and orange are apparently the colors for the Milkweed Gang, a motley crew of various species united in their foulness and their love of the weed. I knew people like that in college, but it was a different weed, and they mostly wore flannel. It was the 90’s.)

I am somewhat puzzled by a native bug that nothing else eats. I can only assume that they perish in various foolish accidents–motorcycling without their helmets, refusal to wear seatbelts and lifejackets and so forth, until the survivors gather in tiny milkweed beetle nursing homes and eventually expire of old age.

No monarch caterpillars have put on an appearance, and there’s all of one beetle, so I’m glad SOMEBODY is enjoying the milkweed, and better him than milkweed aphids.

One Comment

  • Patty says:

    I make a living (sort of..it helps to pay the bills) working at a local nursery. I am thrilled to find you have a garden blog! Poor me, I am in a two bedroom apartment with one lone window box but I have an entire nursery as my garden!
    The Monarchs may not be around until the fall when they start heading south for the winter.
    I’m in San Diego and that’s when we get our big migration. We get a few in the spring and summer when we have regular milkweed for sale.
    I was reading about your escapade with the permaculture ideas and have no resources for you. (You might try looking for organic gardening sources. That’s what the hippies out here in California call it.)
    There is a gardening community site (kind of like a forum board) called The Mulch (themulch.com) gardeners from all over the country post there, list what plants they’re growing, what they’ve killed, and there’s resident experts to help out as well!
    Check it out!
    (oh and have fun at the con! Looking forward to more artwork!)