Insect Pest attacking Tropical Milkweed


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See photo (best I could do considering small size) of these small, black insects on my Milkweed plants. I also have some yellow Oleander Aphids, but they are mostly being controlled by natural predators. Anyone have an idea of what these little black insects are? They look almost like tiny black beetles.
 

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See photo (best I could do considering small size) of these small, black insects on my Milkweed plants. I also have some yellow Oleander Aphids, but they are mostly being controlled by natural predators. Anyone have an idea of what these little black insects are? They look almost like tiny black beetles.
Too small to tell but I am confident that they are not beneficial. I do not know of any beetle that habitats foliage that is not harmful in some way. I would spray with Spinosad
 
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Too small to tell but I am confident that they are not beneficial. I do not know of any beetle that habitats foliage that is not harmful in some way. I would spray with Spinosad
Yes, they are definitely feeding on the sap of the Milkweed, making them a nuisance to the plant. If I can find out exactly what they are, I'd like to know if there are any natural predators that could help keep their numbers down. I have Monarchs that visit my garden often and don't want to hurt them or their cats.
 
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Hard to tell but it does look like it could be aphids, have a look around for black sooty mold in the area yet. Fairly manageable if it is aphids, often ladybugs will be following up shortly. Other wise you can Blast them off with a stream of water (if the plant can tolerate) or even smush them by hand. If you have to take hard action Insecticidal soaps or oils can work.

If your interested here is more on Aphids
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html

I'm not upon Milkweed, but a little searching suggests aphids and milkweed are a know.
http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/control-aphids-milkweed-plants/
 
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Hard to tell but it does look like it could be aphids, have a look around for black sooty mold in the area yet. Fairly manageable if it is aphids, often ladybugs will be following up shortly. Other wise you can Blast them off with a stream of water (if the plant can tolerate) or even smush them by hand. If you have to take hard action Insecticidal soaps or oils can work.

If your interested here is more on Aphids
http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7404.html

I'm not upon Milkweed, but a little searching suggests aphids and milkweed are a know.
http://monarchbutterflygarden.net/control-aphids-milkweed-plants/
If they're Aphids, which I'm not sure they are, I'm wondering what kind. The only type I know of are the common yellow/orange Oleander Aphids. Those are readily kept under control by the ladybugs I've attracted. But I don't think the ladybugs and their larvae are attacking these black ones.
 
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If they are aphids they will be soft bodied and if beetles hard bodied. Squish some
 
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If they are aphids they will be soft bodied and if beetles hard bodied. Squish some
They're super tiny. They seem to almost have a body like a tick would (same toughness). They're not ticks though. They do squish but they don't "pop" as easily as the Yellow/Orange Oleander Aphids. Still unsure what these things are. Also...some of the "bodies" seem to be like empty shells as if they're dead or they outgrew their old "skin".
 
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They're super tiny. They seem to almost have a body like a tick would (same toughness). They're not ticks though. They do squish but they don't "pop" as easily as the Yellow/Orange Oleander Aphids. Still unsure what these things are. Also...some of the "bodies" seem to be like empty shells as if they're dead or they outgrew their old "skin".
Then they are not aphids. An aphid when it is eating on a plant does not move, at all. Their "jaws" are imbeded in the tissue of the plant. That is why you can kill them by spraying a hard stream on them. You actually tear their heads off when you do it. These things move. I have had them on my cabbage. There isn't a magic ladybug that will come along and eat them. If you want to eliminate them spray them with spinosad. Spinosad is a totally organic product made from soil bacteria and is harmless to humans and pets and it will get rid of them.
 
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Thanks CHUCK, but would still love to know the exact beetle species or "common name".
 
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Those are Aphids, no doubt about it! Last year my plants were loaded with the exact same one. I'm at work so I cannot post a pic of them right now. Basically they will do no harm to the plant. This year I plan on buying lady bugs if and when they show up this year, and from what I understand, they will indeed be back. Very common on milkweed. If you want to try ladybugs, make sure you release them at night, or they will all just fly away before they smell dinner.
 
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There is an old joke about lady bugs that my OH 120 teacher told us.

What's the best time to let lady bugs go in the yard? At night so you don't see them fly to the neighbor's yard. Yes. it's best to know the lady bug habits before turning them loose.

I know it has a region connotation, but the UC IPM web site is an unbelievable wealth of information. It calls out with pictures 17 different kinds of Aphids. Eric Paul I would encourage you to spend a few minutes on the UCIPM web site for Aphids.
 
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Thank you all for you help. I took a look at the UCIPM website and found other Aphid species that are similar in appearance. It also explained why some of them were already dead (mummified) as they have been apparently preyed on by parasitic wasps. If they get out of control, I will definitely get more ladybugs.

Licenter - if you ever find out the exact species (common name) please let me know. Thanks!
 
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Here are two pics. The first is a Butterfly weed. 'Asclepias incarnata' The second is a common Milkweed. 'Asclepias tuberosa'
Sorry the second pic is out of focus, but you get the idea.
Wish I could tell you exactly what type they are, as I never gave it much thought due to their harmless nature. If you look closely at the first pic, you will also see a few beetle type bugs with wings. This is a bug (The milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus) you don't want on your milkweed, so keep a close eye out for them. Here is a link from a backyard gardener about the devastation they can cause. http://markcz.com/butterfly-weed-milkweed-bugs/




 
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@Eric Paul, you have two organic options for controlling the aphids on your milkweed. The first is simple and immediate: a foliar spray made from dish soap. The second is a sugar and water solution, that when sprayed on the aphids mimics their own honeydew and draws lacewings to them in the evening.

If your plants are large and healthy, feed the lacewings. If your plants are young and you have a lot of aphids, use the soap ( a couple drops in one of those tall spray bottles with a drop of olive oil); it kills them instantly.

If you have caterpillar eggs, blast the aphids with water (just hold the milkweed stem when you do it). If you already have baby cats, remove the aphids with clear packing tape.
 
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@Eric Paul, you have two organic options for controlling the aphids on your milkweed. The first is simple and immediate: a foliar spray made from dish soap. The second is a sugar and water solution, that when sprayed on the aphids mimics their own honeydew and draws lacewings to them in the evening.

If your plants are large and healthy, feed the lacewings. If your plants are young and you have a lot of aphids, use the soap ( a couple drops in one of those tall spray bottles with a drop of olive oil); it kills them instantly.

If you have caterpillar eggs, blast the aphids with water (just hold the milkweed stem when you do it). If you already have baby cats, remove the aphids with clear packing tape.
Hi ChanellG, I did purchase ladybugs about a year ago and some had either came back or stuck around enough to last into this year (breeding). So, they seem to be keeping the yellow Oleander Aphids under control. It's the black ones I'm worried about (see pic). I also have baby cats on the plant so I can't use pesticides (even organic). Was just hoping someone could tell me the exact species of this aphid.
 
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Here are two pics. The first is a Butterfly weed. 'Asclepias incarnata' The second is a common Milkweed. 'Asclepias tuberosa'
Sorry the second pic is out of focus, but you get the idea.
Wish I could tell you exactly what type they are, as I never gave it much thought due to their harmless nature. If you look closely at the first pic, you will also see a few beetle type bugs with wings. This is a bug (The milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus) you don't want on your milkweed, so keep a close eye out for them. Here is a link from a backyard gardener about the devastation they can cause. http://markcz.com/butterfly-weed-milkweed-bugs/
Thanks Llcenter. I had a similar infestation last year with the Yellow Oleander Aphids and purchased several sets of Ladybug beetles to get rid of them. I also used some organicide to help control the really bad spots. Eventually, the winter season did them in (if you want to call it "winter season" in C. FL.). I now have a lot of ladybug larvae on the plants that seem to be keeping them under control this season. BUT...the difference between this year and last is this black, tiny insect. Still unsure if it's a beetle or an aphid (leaning toward an aphid). Would really like to know the species so I can find it's natural predator
 
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...Would really like to know the species so I can find it's natural predator
I'd be willing to bet the natural predator is lacewings and/or assassin bugs. You can also try placing a trap crop next to the milkweed. I don't get into naming the aphids, lol, I just eradicate them.
 
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