We spot a ladybug, then we see a beetle in black and red but with a different pattern…
…and we stumble over our paws wondering if it is a ladybug, too?
What do you think?
We had lots of looks today, but no guesses…and I have to admit, I thought I had this critter identified before posting his photo. But like Ms. Flora sometimes says, the best laid plans…
This nice eastern website of various beetles found on wildflowers identifies it as a Milkweed Bug (see bug #37), but when I went to verify this identification, Milkweed Bugs look way different. A site on Lady Bugs has a lot of answers and photos of ladybugs, including one very similar, but we finally turned to a human friend who told us it is a Milkweed Leaf Beetle!
Apparently these beetles do not eat harmful aphids like the ladybugs, but instead eat the leaves of Milkweed plants, preferring, it seems, the Swamp Milkweed, so they are often called Swamp Milkweed Leaf Beetles. This of course, is harmful to milkweed plants, which many of you humans would like to save for Monarch caterpillars to feed on.
Sorry to say, it’s very hard to control what bugs find your plants, just like it’s hard for us squirrels to know who might dig up our acorns.