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Question: 1178-4114
I planted milkweed this spring and it is doing super. They have started to bloom but there are lots of tiny yellow and red insects with black spots on them. I do not want to spray them unless I have to. What are they? George

Mort's Answer:
Ascepias syrica is a natural shelter for many butterfly and moth insects. Milkweed beetles will provide food for birds. Your plants are havens for the larvae as well as the adult bugs. The milkweed beetles can be yellow, red or orange with black spots. Frost will be there in zone 7 around late October. I suspect that you will not need to spray your milkweed plants by then.

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Question: 489-811
What are some Annuals and Perennials that I can plant to ward off insects? Lois. Mt. Pleasant ,SC

Mort's Answer:
Marigolds especially Tagetes patula have been found to be effective. Any of the garlic or onion plants. Allium moly, Lily leek or A. neapolitanum have attractive flowers. The rose-purple A. acuminatum is a rather profuse bloomer. Onions are the perfect companion for roses. Smaller shallots that grow about a foot high can be cultivated into the soil as a green manure each fall. They can become invasive. I would caution that they should be selectively planted so that they will not be entangled with other spreading perennials. Another Perennial that will help is the Chrysanthemum coccineum or Painted Lady. It contains pyrethrum, a natural insecticide.

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