The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Milkweed Bug

Afrikaans name:

Milkweed Bug

Photo © Steven Herbert

Oncopeltus famelicus

The Milkweed Bug has a striking orange and black colouration. It grows to a length of around 14 mm.

Although it is often found on Milkweed this insect does actually feed off other plants as well. It can cause damage to crops, such as granadilla, cotton, and sweet potatoes. They are, however, most attracted to the pods of the Common Milkweed plant where they are sometimes found in large numbers.

The Milkweed Bug is found in a number of habitats including farmlands, gardens, grasslands, as well as the edges of forests and roads. They occur over much of South Africa, apart from the very arid areas, in suitable habitat.

The family Lygaeidae, to which the Milkweed Bug belongs, consists of 400 species in South Africa alone. These insects are typically 12 to 14 mm long and are either brown or marked with orange or yellow with black.

References and further reading

Pocket Guide - Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker & Charles Griffiths - Published: 2015 - Page: 49

Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Author: Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths and Alan Weaving - Published: 0 - Page: 130

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