The conspicuous coloring and sometimes groupings of the Small Milkweed Bug may cause alarm when sighted, but this ubiquitous insect is mostly innocuous.
Small Milkweed Bugs are a type of Seed Bug whose larvae eat the seeds of milkweed. Milkweed contains a chemical that gets stored inside the young insect and helps prevent it from being eaten by small animals by making them sick or worse. Removing a segment of potential predators is a boon to survival. As adults, Small Milkweed Bugs travel away from the host plant and even the juvenile diet. Adults are not picky eaters. They will consume nectar, dead insects, bug eggs, and other plant seeds.
It is common to see them in a variety of areas, from urban to rural. They are also found with friends on the same plant or nearby. Their similar coloring and pattern resemble that of Boxelder Bugs and Milkweed Bugs (regular sized). In warm regions, they are active year round. In colder climates, they are active from spring to autumn.
Scientific Name: Lygaeus kalmii
Size (Adult; Length): 11mm to 12mm (0.43in to 0.47in)
Note: 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 as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.