Last year I wrote a blog about the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus, which is also called the large milkweed bug. It’s the kind I usually seeon milkweed stems and leaves or sunning themselves on objects near milkweed.
This week I stopped to look at the milkweed bug pictured below. It was sitting on milkweed flowers where its colors contrasted beautifully with the pink and cream blossoms. Looking more closely I saw by the pattern on its back that it was not the kind I usually see. It was the other milkweed bug: Lygaeus kalmii, also called the small milkweed bug.
Like large milkweed bugs, small milkweed bugs also mainly eat milkweed seeds, piercing them with a sharp beak, injecting enzymes, and then sucking up the dissolved food. Both kinds of milkweed bugs also sometimes drink nectar from flowers — the one above may have been having a sip when I spotted it.