Friday, May 21, 2010
Milkweed bugs will eat into the seed pods of milkweed and should be removed NOW if you want to save seed to plant more milkweed to support the population of monarch butterflies; milkweed you find growing along roadways and in ditches are hardy native varieties that will grow and bloom from roots once established and protected
Please do not spray anything on or near your milkweed. Simply pluck the bugs off by hand. OK, if you are squeamish, wear gloves. Any spray used would also kill the eggs, larva or caterpillers of monarchs that already have visited the plant, totally defeating the purpose of protecting the milkweed. Another important thing to remember: Do not remove the milkweed stem if the caterpillars eat all the leaves! The plant will grow from the roots next year and pulling the stem may disrupt the root. The old stem is the easiest marker of where to expect next year's stems to appear and to remind you NOT to dig there! Sometimes, depending on rain and sun and factors I can't guess, milkweed roots will put up new shoots later in the growing season and benefit a later monarch generation the same year.