>>>>Please Help, My milkweed is infested with aphids and there is caterpillars on the plant. What do I do? I have a 2500 square foot butterfly garden and the aphids are only on the milkweed. I need to feed monarchs that are in my 4 foot square butterfly cage also.<<<<
Aphids are a nightmare! When they first start and you don't think they can do much damage but they can destroy the growing tips of milkweed and oleander plants. The milkweed/oleander aphid is not native to the US and give live birth - without mating. From what we understand, there are ZERO males of this species in the wild in the US.
It is said that when aphids are not available, however, that some aphid predators will eat Monarch and Queen young caterpillars.
There are many natural predators but of course they don't keep them under total control. Green lacewings, hover flies, and lady bug nymphs are only a few of their natural predators.
Insecticidal soap or Malathion can kill aphids. We highly recommend removing caterpillars from the plants before treating the plants. Cover the plants with a sheet for 1/2 hour, remove the sheet, and rinse thoroughly. After a thorough rinse, the caterpillars can be safely returned to the plants.
Stephen and I have been married 39 years. We raised five children and are enjoying our son/daughter-in-laws and our grandchildren.
We 'own' Shady Oak Butterfly Farm, Inc, with our daughter (Charlotte) and enjoy working with our oldest son’s wife, Michelle (who runs the office and shipping part of the farm). It is located near Brooker, between Gainesville and Jacksonville in Florida. We raise over 30 species of butterflies for exhibit, educatation, research, release, and more.