En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Thursday - October 18, 2012

From: Westminster, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Butterfly Gardens, Pests
Title: Orange eggs on milkweed plants
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello I have milk weed in my flower garden. Every year I find small orange 'eggs' on the leaves and stems of the plant. I don't think these are the monarch eggs, but not sure if they are other 'good' eggs or not. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

You are right that Danaus plexippus (Monarch) butterfly eggs are not orange—they are white.  The eggs of the other closely related butterflies that feed on milkweed plants [Danaus gilippus (Queen) and Danaus eresimus (Soldier)] are also white.

A possible identification for the orange eggs is Labidomera clivicollis (Swamp milkweed leaf beetle).  You can read more about the beetles from TexasButterflyRanch.com.  You can see from the map on the TexasEnto page that their range includes Massachusetts.  If that is what the eggs are, you might want to get rid of them if their larvae are seriously defoliating the plant.  Of course, you can't use a pesticide to remove them since that would also impact the monarch, queen or soldier butterflies.  However, you should be able to handpick them to remove them.

Here is a photo guide from MonarchWatch to 26 of the more than 100 species of milkweed plants and here is a link to the 62 native species of the Family Asclepidaceae (Milkweed Family) listed in our Native Plant Database.  You don't say which of the milkweeds you have in your garden; but, if you don't know the species, perhaps you can find it in the MonarchWatch guide and/or in the list from our Native Plant Database.

 

More Pests Questions

Infestation of shiny red and blue/black beetles
May 27, 2014 - I have an infestation of 1 cm long shiny red and blue/black beetles. They have red heads with black eyes and antenna, 2 (?) red spots on their sides, and a bluish black body. Before I kill them with ...
view the full question and answer

Spots on calycanthus petals from Buckley WA
June 20, 2013 - Petals on calycanthus develop black spots the turn into holes. Problem appears shortly after buds open. Occurs every year. Foliage is healthy. Plant growing well and doubles or triples size every ...
view the full question and answer

Bugs on yucca plant in New Jersey
August 06, 2008 - I noticed small bugs ALL OVER 4 established yucca plants all near each other. They may look like Halticotoma valida but I'm not positive. There is no brown on the leaves except for the large amount...
view the full question and answer

New nursery plants with sappy spots from Round Rock, TX
September 09, 2012 - We live on the west side of RR, near Cedar Park and recently bought three 15 gallon cherry laurels from a nursery. Started to plant them today as we bought them a week ago and noticed base of the trun...
view the full question and answer

Cenizos browning in Houston
October 01, 2011 - After this horrible drought, I am committed to xeriscaping with native Texas plants. The few hibiscus that survived have been transplanted into pots and are thriving. I bid the tiny boxwoods a fond fa...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center