We've identified an insect that's attacking our Butterfly Weed in profusion...

Asked September 2, 2013, 5:37 PM EDT

We've identified an insect that's attacking our Butterfly Weed in profusion as the Red Milkweed Beetle "Eastern Milkweed Longhorn" (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus) from our Audubon Field Guide, but we can't find it on your web site. Please give us some information regarding pest management (organic) and help us identify the eggs. (I'm afraid we've destroyed butterfly eggs in our zeal to save our Butterfly Weed by chopping off affected parts and shoving them in bags. Any help will be appreciated! Thank you

Calvert County Maryland insect identification milkweed beetle

1 Response

These plants and insects/bugs that like them have co-evolved together. The plants are 'damaged' in the gardener sense, but not as far as ecology is concerned. They can take this kind of feeding, especially late in the season, and be just fine. They can literally be eaten to the ground and recover.
It is not listed as a pest on our website and there is not research infor on egg i.d. because they are not considered serious 'pests' for this reason. It is best to just leave them alone and allow nature, butterflies, beetles, true bugs etc. to take their course. The biodiversity that your yard shows is a good sign as it is all part of the circle of life, feeding and being food for other insects and small mammals.
If you feel you must control them, you could hand-pick them off and put them in soapy water to die. You could also plant more milkweed.