A Talk on the Wild Side.
Planting milkweed is a one of the many ways you can help the monarch butterfly. Milkweed is the sole host plant to the monarch butterfly's caterpillar, but keeping milkweed as part of our landscape is important to more than just monarch butterflies. Here some species that also use milkweed in various ways.
What Feeds on Milkweed Nectar?
Bees on common milkweed by Courtney Celley, USFWS
Great spangled fritillary on milkweed by Dani Tinker
Delaware skipper (Atrytone delaware)
Syrphid or hover flies – they often look like bees or wasps and feed on the nectar.
Long-horned beetles in the genus Typocerus - these beetles have long antennae and an elongate body.
Fly on milkweed by Dani Tinker
Feasting on Milkweed:
In addition to feeding on nectar, the brightly colored large milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus eats milkweed plant parts, including the seeds.
Young of the Queen butterfly, Danaus gilippus, which is closely related to the monarch, also eat milkweed plant parts.
Finally, you even find predatory insects, like assassin bugs (Zelus sp.), can be found looking for their next meal on milkweed plants.
As you can see, milkweed species serve as an important food source for a number of different animals. Plus, by letting milkweed grow, we can welcome these insects to the neighborhood. What insects do you see on your milkweed?