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Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus)

Detailing the identifying qualities of the Milkweed Bug, including physical features and territorial reach.

 Updated: 7/11/2017; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©

  Milkweed Bug  
Picture of Milkweed-Bug

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).

Picture of the Milkweed Bug
Picture of the Milkweed Bug

Milkweed Bug Information

Category: True Bug
Common Name: Milkweed Bug
Scientific Name: Oncopeltus fasciatus
Other Name(s): Large Milkweed Bug

Taxonomy Hierarchy

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

Size, Identifying Tags and Territorial Reach

Size (Adult, Length): Size (Adult, Length): 10 mm to 15 mm (0.39 inches to 0.585 inches)
Identifying Colors: black; orange; red
Additional Descriptors: flying, multicolored

North American Territorial 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

A Note About Territorial Reach: Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above. Insects are driven by environmental factors, food supplies and mating patterns and do not nescessarily work within hard-and-fast territorial lines like we humans do.

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