After the monarchs…


Seeds bursting from pod with Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
Seeds bursting from pod with Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
Common Milkweed pod full of MIlkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Common Milkweed pod full of MIlkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Common Milkweed acting as host of Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Common Milkweed acting as host of Milkweed Bugs. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg

Common Milkweed (asclepias syriaca) is the chosen food of Monarch butterflies. Eggs are laid on the plant and larva feast on the leaves. Much has been reported on the loss of habitat for Monarchs including this Milkweed, not to be confused with the orange blooming Butterfly Milkweed (asclepias tuberosa). Loss of habitat has led to dramatically reduced populations of these wonderful creatures.

This Common Milkweed plant attracted me with its delicate fluffy seeds that had recently burst out of several pods. They always remind me of one segment of the Disney movie, Fantasia. As I focused on the seeds, I noticed a few brightly colored Milkweed Bugs. Several moments later, I realized the “brown” pod above the seeds was actually a community of Milkweed Bugs on one pod. The Milkweed Butterfly has left this northern area and begun its 3000-mile migration to Mexico, while the Milkweed Bug enjoys the remaining spoils of this host plant.

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