If you're nurturing milkweed in hopes to support Monarch butterflies, chances are you've encountered clusters of yellow bugs on it. Meet the culprits; the oleander aphids (Aphis nerii).
My advice, leave the aphids! As you observe these aphid colonies on your milkweed, you may also notice their natural predator, the hover fly larva (Pseudodorus clavatus) as seen here devouring aphids on our milkweed. Hover flies are also known as flower flies.
As for their larvae, these adorable baby flies are predators, targeting insects such as aphids, scales, and true bugs. We like to call them beneficial insects in the garden world.
The adult hover flies, resemble bees and wasps. The adult hover flies are attracted to flowers and often feed on nectar as their primary energy source. Since they consume nectar, you probably guessed it, they also play an important role as pollinators, transferring pollen from one flower to another as they feed.
So, embrace the presence of aphids on your milkweed as they contribute to the intricate pollinator food web, attracting helpful hover fly larvae that maintain a natural balance in your garden.
Support our pollinators with milkweed!