Since taking up the hobby of mothing — photographing moths and other insects that are attracted to a black light at night — I've become more aware of daytime insects in our yard. Now that I'm looking for them, I'm seeing them everywhere.
One of the more spectacular species that I recently found in my yard was the milkweed bug. I confess that I had no idea what they were. I saw these black and orange beetle-like things crawling all over my bloodflower milkweeds in our butterfly garden. I had planted the milkweeds to attract monarch butterflies, and they've been doing a good job of that. I didn't know if I should try to get rid of those orange and black intruders or not. So I asked Vic, the resident biology instructor in the house.
Vic didn't recognize them either, so he sought an outside opinion. He took them to Larry Shaw of Orange County Vector Control District, who didn't even need to look at them. When he heard "big orange and black bugs on milkweed," he knew immediately that they were milkweed bugs. To humor Vic, Larry peered at the two bugs in a jar that Vic had brought to him. Yep, milkweed bugs.