Insects drawn to milkweed plants

Asked August 17, 2015, 3:09 PM EDT

I understand that Monarch butterflies are drawn to milkweed plants and will lay their eggs on the leaves so I grow a few plants each year. This year the leaves on the plants have been covered in a clear very sticky substance. I have hundreds of red and black beetle type insects in large bunches on the pods, especially, and on the leaves. I also have a grey, thin insect with long legs and feelers which catches bumble bees and caterpillars, inserts a tube and slowly sucks the life from them. Any ideas on what I have created here? Earlier in the summer, I did have butterflies visiting the purple blossoms, but that stopped when the blossoms died and the pods developed.

Baltimore County Maryland

1 Response

This is what growing native plants is all about. You are creating a small world where one insect becomes dependent on another for survival, birds will feed on some of these insects to maintain a balance. The sticky stuff was from the aphids,the milkweed beetle followed ( similar to boxelder beetle) than the predators .probably assinsin or wheel bugs. The monarch butterfly will only lay its eggs on the milkweed plant.Keep up the good work.