Insect Identification
Insect Identification

Milkweed Bug - (Oncopeltus fasciatus)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 9/9/2014

There are plenty of Milkweed Bugs to be found in the eastern states with a variety of looks at different life stages.

Adult Milkweed Bugs do not seem to damage flowers, vegetable gardens or field crops, but they are usually found in large clusters, which sets off alarm in most people. They drink the nectar of various plants in addition to the milkweed plant.

Adults may be seen in huge numbers on warm winter days. They overwinter, waiting for spring, and may be fooled by a suddenly warm day and venture out. This species lays bright red eggs that hatch in the spring. Nymphs start out a bright red with black antennae (seen in the photo with adults). As the nymphs mature, they begin to gain black spots and start turning orange. The medley of colors at the older nymph stage is quite lovely (see photo gallery).

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Category: True Bug
Common name: Milkweed Bug
Scientific Name: Oncopeltus fasciatus
Other Names: Large Milkweed Bug

  Kingdom: Animalia
   Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
     Order: Hemiptera
      Family: Lygaeidae
       Genus: Oncopeltus
        Species: fasciatus

Adult Size (Length): 10mm to 15mm (0.39in to 0.59in)

Identifying Colors: black; orange; red

Additional Descriptors: flying, multicolored

North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Alaska; Arizona; Arkansas; California; Colorado; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Hawaii; Idaho; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; Montana; Nebraska; Nevada; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New Mexico; New York; North Carolina; North Dakota; Ohio; Oklahoma; Oregon; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; South Dakota; Tennessee; Texas; Utah; Vermont; Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin; Wyoming; Alberta; British Columbia; Manitoba; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec; Saskatchewan; Mexico

* Keep in mind that insect reach is not governed by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.