The Return of Beloved Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus) 6/20/14

Flashback Wednesday, June 20, 2012 – I call this picture “My Midsummer Skipper”.
June 20, 2012 sigFlashback Thursday, June 20, 2013 – This is my pick photo for today and it stars a beautiful swallowtail butterfly on my lavender.
June 20, 2013 sigFriday, June 20, 2014 – Today I was so happy to see the return of some special friends, the red milkweed beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus).  The one below says, “Oh, hai!”.  RMB are known to purr and squeak.  My milkweed began as a volunteer years ago in a grass strip in my driveway.  This was before it was known what trouble the Monarchs would be in.  I pulled up the grass, planted herbs, and I have carefully tended the milkweed.  It has slowly spread up the driveway strip.  Needless to say, I haven’t been able to park in my garage for years.
6:20:14 oh hai sig After a few years, as the milkweed slowly spread, I begin to have a population of red milkweed beetles.  Even though I’ve never seen any Monarch caterpillars ( I believe some grew up here last year), I look forward to the appearance of my beetles.  I do see the occasional adult butterfly laying eggs in my milkweed later in the year, though sadly the butterflies have steadily diminished.  I’ve lived here 23 years and have never used poisons.
6:20:14 side beetle sig 6:20:14 side beetle close sigAll kinds of creatures love my milkweed and I also have milkweed bugs, another exclusive feeder on milkweed.  Pollinators of all kinds love the blooms and I’ve even seen the hummingbirds cruising in them.
6:20:14 antennae sig 6:20:14 I see you sig 6:20:14 cute sigOver the years I’ve tried to educate my neighborhood about the dangers of poisons.  I don’t think it has made much difference.  For many years most of my neighbors didn’t like my yard (and many still don’t) because it isn’t manicured and I have many unconventional plantings.  I’ve been turned into the city, too.  Happily I haven’t had to get rid of my milkweed.  What they probably didn’t/don’t know is that I’ve always planted for the pollinators and tiny wasps and other beneficial insects that have allowed me to garden organically.  I’m hoping that some of my neighbors are paying attention to the news now and the plight of the pollinators and they’ll start planting for biodiversity some day.
6:20:14 beloved milkweed beetle sigIn the mean time, part of what I do is try and take pictures of the little beautiful lives all around me in my own yard and neighborhood and share them with who ever finds their way here.  I hope that you clicked on the photos to see just how cute our insect friends can be 🙂
6:20:14 close peaking sigOur hearts give thanks for the Grace in the Universe!
Namaste and Bright Beetle Blessings ~ Raven

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