Calhoun County EMG 2020 Basic Training Exercise- Boxelder Bugs or Milkweed Bugs #733583 - Ask Extension

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Calhoun County EMG 2020 Basic Training Exercise- Boxelder Bugs or Milkweed Bugs #733583

Asked November 09, 2020, 10:21 AM EST

Hi! I have an area on my property where I grow milkweed (common milkweed). There are so many boxelder bugs or milkweed bugs. Why? How can I keep them off and away from the milkweed? Are the milkweed bugs helpful to the milkweed at all?

Katie Weyenberg

Calhoun County Michigan

Expert Response

Yes, the insect in your photo is the large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus). They feed on the milkweed seeds inside of the pods. They are not particularly harmful to the current year's milkweed plants. They do reduce the number of viable seeds that each pod produces, because they feed on the developing seeds. However, we don't generally worry about them impacting milkweed populations. 

Nathaniel Walton Replied November 11, 2020, 9:12 AM EST

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