Adult Milkweed Bugs do not appear to damage flowers, vegetable gardens, or field crops, but because they are usually found in huge groups, most people react with alarm when finding them. This insect feeds on nectar, especially from the milkweed plant. They do not linger all season long, so many people let them be.
Milkweed Bugs may be seen in huge numbers, even on warm winter days. Adults 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. Rounded nymphs start out a bright red with black antennae. As the nymphs mature, they begin to gain black spots, short black wing coverings, and begin turning orange. After more molting, the slender, mature adult form is black and orange. A black diamond shaped mark on the thorax is surrounded by an orange border. A wide black band crosses the center of the eltyra. The lower tips of the wings are also black.
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* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Large Milkweed Bug may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Large Milkweed Bug. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.