by Andrea Kautz
Milkweed is in bloom and it’s not only the monarchs that love it!
We are all familiar with the striped caterpillars that rely on milkweed as a food source and the beautiful orange butterflies they become, but lots of other insects utilize milkweed in a similar way.
A quick inspection of the Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) blooming near Powdermill Nature Reserve’s nature center parking lot reveals three different milkweed specialists pictured: the Milkweed Leaf Beetle (Labidomera clivicollis), the Large Milkweed Bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus), and the Milkweed Longhorn Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus).
The next time you come across a milkweed plant, see if you can find any of these guys hanging out; they are all quite attractive!
Andrea Kautz is a research entomologist at Carnegie Museum of Natural History’s Powdermill Nature Reserve. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working for the museum.