Monarch butterflies aren't the only insects that like milkweed.
Honey bees, lady beetles and aphids, do, too.
We found all three insects, plus a monarch butterfly, on our scarlet milkweed (Asclepias curassavica) today (Labor Day). Most of the insects were oleander aphids, which attract lady beetles. aka ladybugs.
Asclepias curassavica, also known as tropical milkweed, and Mexican butterfly weed, is native to South America but is frequently planted throughout the United States to attract monarchs. In the United States, you'll find it not only in California and Florida, but in Hawaii, Louisiana, Tennessee and Texas, among others states. The colorful plant is known by some as "redhead," due to its brilliant red (and yellow) flowers.
Unfortunately, some of the "yellow" is a pest that needs to be eradicated. See the UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) guideline on aphids.
Author - Communications specialist
Labor Day activity: A honey bee and a lady beetle (see center of blossoms) forage on a scarlet milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Oleander aphids also like the scarlet milkweed (along with honey bees and monarch butterflies). The milkweed is the host plant of the monarch butterfly but this plant "hosts" other insects, too. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
A monarch butterfly laying eggs on a scarlet milkweed. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)