Milkweed

The Problem with Monarchical Rule

This is the time of the year when the menagerie of insects that feed on members of the dogbane family, including common milkweed, seem to arrive en masse to the consternation of monarchists. Some well-meaning gardeners aim to reserve milkweeds exclusively for the pleasure of monarchs. What about other native insects that feed on milkweeds; let them eat cake?
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Joe Boggs
Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative - Annual Milkweed Pod Collection  stone.91 Wed, 09/19/2018 - 17:07
The Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative (OPHI) is encouraging all Ohioans who have grown common milkweed this season to harvest seed pods and take them to a participating Soil and Water Conservation Office. The Annual Milkweed Pollination Collection is in its third year in Ohio. In 2015, 7 counties piloted the milkweed seed pod collection. The project has grown and it is estimated that over 22 million seeds have been collected by volunteers across the buckeye state over the 3 years.  
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Amy Stone

Embrace the Milkweed Menagerie

This is the time of the year when the menagerie of insects that feed on members of the dogbane family (Apocynaceae), including common milkweed, seem to arrive en masse … to the consternation of monarch lovers! Some aim to reserve milkweeds for monarchs. What about other native insects that feed on milkweeds; let them eat cake?
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Joe Boggs

Milkweed Bugs are Rampant

As common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) produces its signature spiny, oblong seed pods, milkweed bugs may show-up en mass to take advantage of the seed bounty. There are two species of bugs that feed on milkweed seed: the large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) and the small milkweed bug (Lygaeus kalmii).
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Joe Boggs
Milkweeds: Asclepias and Asclepius chatfield.1 Sun, 07/31/2016 - 20:21

  I was moved by my friend Joe Boggs post about oleander aphids on milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) to add a little to the mix, mainly because I wrote earlier about butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa) and because I took a number of pictures of milkweeds in the past few weeks and in previous years. They are quite beautiful with their reflexed corolla (group of petals) and elaborate horn and hood structures, their silky fibers (coma) used for life preserver flotation in World War II and pillows and comforters today, and for their relationship with Monarch butterflies.

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Jim Chatfield
Aphids Spoiling Monarch Milkweeds boggs.47 Fri, 07/29/2016 - 19:12

During yesterday's OSU Master Gardener Volunteer Diagnostic Workshop in Licking County, OH, one of the participants asked about the hordes of yellow aphids sucking juices from common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) reserved for monarch butterfly caterpillars.  These are oleander aphids (Aphis nerii) and their appearance reminds us that nature makes no food reservations.

 

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Joe Boggs

I Speak for the Milkweed Tussock Moth!

I came across early instar milkweed tussock moth caterpillars (Euchaetes egle) feeding on their namesake host yesterday and they reminded me of an e-mail message I received last year.  The message was from a well-meaning monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) enthusiast who asked how they could control tussock caterpillars so they wouldn't compete with monarchs.  I was aghast.  We celebrate the rejection of a monarchy each July 4! 

 

It can't be denied that milkweed tussock moth...

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Joe Boggs
Red Milkweed Beetles boggs.47 Mon, 06/27/2016 - 19:08
Brightly colored Red Milkweed Beetles (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) are easy to find as they mate and feast on milkweed in southern Ohio. These orangish-red, tubular-shaped 3/8 - 1/2" long beetles sport an odd feature that is clearly described by their scientific name.
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Joe Boggs