Garden Bugs Come In All Colors! Discover Why.

Garden Bugs Come In All Colors! Discover Why.

A Garden Bug Confession

I have a confession to make. Garden bugs are cool, but I didn’t grow up caring much about bugs. One of my favorite things to do when I was little? Step on ants. The more the better.

Where that came from, who knows? Was I a monster in the making? I think I was afraid of them so stepping on them seemed to help my fears.

Thankfully, I quickly grew out of that phase and entered into a new one. A curious child always bringing home the bug or lizard to show the family my wondrous treasure.



garden bugs

Why is the milkweed bug so brightly colored?

garden bug

Fire ants have benefits but I still don’t like them

Ok, So I Don’t Like Fire Ants

I realize not everyone thinks garden bugs are cool. And some are definitely not, like fire ants. Knowing they have some higher purpose other than to sting you does not make me like them any better.

How About Milkweed Bugs?

While you may not think of a garden bug as attractive, just look at these beauties. Striking red and black colors just calling out to you as you walk by. But predators beware. As the bugs feed on the toxic milkweed, they absorb some toxins, making them taste bad to anything wanting to eat them. Pretty smart!

The bold colors serve as a warning to birds and other animals looking for a meal.  Don’t eat me or you will be sorry. The same goes for monarchs that lay their eggs on milkweed (and only milkweed). And both happen to be red/orange & black. Amazing how Mother Nature works.

Bugs use colors to scare off or hide from predators or attract mates. Some even use their markings & colorations to regulate their temperatures. 


garden bugs

A milkweed bug with 2 juveniles


Are Milkweed Bugs Beneficial?

Folks often ask “How do you get rid of garden bugs?” Our answer is “You Don’t! They are great food for all sorts of critters & fun to watch.”

And generally, milkweed bugs are harmless. They may even control milkweed plants overtaking your garden since milkweed can be aggressive. Of course, we think that is a good thing! And yes, even native plants can be pushy.

Plus they are very cool-looking. And if you are lucky, you might even see them mating. So next time you are walking through your garden, see if you find some new garden bugs. And then use your Seek app (learn more about this amazing app here) to identify the bug and learn all about it.

Please just don’t stomp on them as I did as a kid. I am so glad I outgrew that awful phase.


garden bugs

Two milkweed bugs mating


And to read more about milkweed bugs, check out these articles:

Missouri Botanical Garden: Milkweed Bug

Bug of the Week: Bugs in Orange And Black


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