My Milk Weed Plants are covered with Black and Orange insects
Last year my milk weed plants had monarch butterflys and many catpillars. This year, I have not seen any. Instead, the plants are covered with black and orange insects. I have attached pictures. Are these pests and should I try to get rid of them? If so, how? Will my plants be ok next year? Please advise. kathy
These are milkweed bugs. They are not harmful unless you plan to save the seeds (which they feed on). This article provides more information about them. https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2018/09/26/theyre-orange-and-black-and-not-butterflies-whats-eating-my...
Oleander aphids also are common on milkweeds at this time of year.
You can wear gloves and remove the insects manually (aphids are easy to squish) or dislodge them with a strong spray of water. Both of these insects tend to be common on milkweeds, but the plants typically return just fine because they have stored enough energy in their roots systems by this time of year.