Are milkweed bugs harmful to monarchs?
If you've ever looked closely at your garden, you've most likely noticed a wide variety of insects. Large and small milkweed bugs are very common in milkweed patches and can sometimes be found on monarch larvae and pupae. Large milkweed bugs are herbivorous - they feed on the leaves, stems, and seeds of milkweed using their long proboscis. Because large milkweed bugs only eat milkweed, they should not be a problem for monarchs. Small (common) milkweed bugs are mostly herbivorous, but can occasionally be scavengers. These insects have been reported feeding on a wide variety of other insects, such as honey bees, monarch caterpillars and pupae, and dogbane beetles. While it may be disappointing to see monarch eggs, larvae or pupae preyed upon, this is all part of a vibrant milkweed ecosystem. Try not to kill the small milkweed bugs you find in your garden, their presence in the ecosystem is important!