Large Milkweed Bugs

Last week I had a shot of two large milkweed bugs who apparently backed into each other on the leaf parking lot and locked bumpers.  I thought I’d follow up this week with more photos of large milkweed bugs (LMBs) and some general information about milkweed bugs.

As mentioned last week, “large” is part of the bugs’ name and not just an adjective I decided to use.  I also pointed out that there are small milkweed bugs which compared to LMB are … you guessed it, smaller.  However I doubt that I’d ever be able to distinguish the two on that factor alone.  That’s because the size of LMBs is 1/3 to 3/4 inch and the size of SMPs is 1/3 to 1/2 inch.  I’m not sure I could see the 1/4 inch difference.

The best way to tell the difference, at least for amateurs like me, is to note the markings on their back.  The LMBs have large black diamonds on their backs at the top and bottom.  The diamonds are separated by a thick black bar across the middle of the backs.  SMBs have a large red X on their backs, two white spots near the bottom of their backs and two thick segmented antennae.  For now you don’t have to worry about telling them apart as they are all LMBs in this post.


Here are some more large milkweed bug photos.


As is usually the case in nature, the colorful and distinctive markings on milkweed bugs is a warning.  The sap of the milkweed plant is toxic, but not to these bugs, nor to monarch caterpillars and butterflies.  Predators eating the bugs will get sick or die.


See those blurry red things on the left?  Check out the next photo for a better shot.


This is a milkweed bug nymph.  Whenever I seed them in the garden I always see them by the dozen and in many case by the dozens.  I found this one isolated from the others.


When researching milkweed bugs most sites mention the fact that they are very social insects.  I guess you can’t get much more social than this.


Thank you for stopping by.


All photos taken with a Nikon D7100 and a Sigma 105mm macro lens.

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