View Full Version : Milkweed beetle infestation

08-18-2004, 02:33 PM
I planted some narrow leaf milkweed and enjoyed a couple of pretty beetles that lived at its base. I have now learned that these are milkweed beetles and they are the probable cause of the die-back of my plants. I hope the roots will come back to life in the spring. In the meantime I would like to put some new plants into the area this fall. Do I need to somehow control these beetles? Has anyone had experience with this and would it be reasonable to expect that naturally-occurring controls would set in? Any insight would be appreciated.

08-25-2004, 03:21 PM
Narrow leaf milkweed is prone to fungus and often dies back early. The beetles may not be to blame.

09-15-2004, 11:09 AM
Thanks for the reply. One of my two plants has a few new shoots on it, so the roots are viable. I expect it will spread if the other plant doesn't revive.

10-04-2004, 03:28 PM
There are at least three different insects that use Asclepias (milkweeds) as a host plant: Monarch Butterfly (larvae), Milkweed Bug (adults and larvae), and Milkweed Beetle. While all three do eat or suck the milkweeds, of all the plants hosting these insects I have not seen significant damage to the plants. As someone else responded, the damage you saw to your Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) was likely from a fungus. I am aways happy when I come across a milkweed with one or more of these insects, especially the dark blue metalic Milkweed Beetle.
David Magney

10-04-2004, 04:54 PM
I appreciate the feedback. I do like letting the natural balance of the yard develop. If the plant regenerates, then great. I realize that one factor in the health of the milkweed may be its proximity to a salvia apiana as I have read that sages can deter the growth of plants that try to establish nearby. If this is the case I may try milkweed elsewhere.