Generally, I’m not very partial to insects that eat plants that I like. There are levels of dislike, of course. Those that simply suck on the sap aren’t as bad as those that eat leaves and stems which in turn are less of a problem than those that bore into plants, particularly woody plants. Still, they can be bad enough. This is particularly true early in the season, when even sucking insects can seriously stunt the growth of plants and prevent them from blooming. Blooms, after all, are why we grow many of these pants.
The large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus) is somewhere in the middle of this continuum. It doesn’t do significant damage to the plant on which it feeds, either in its nymphal or adult stage. It eats the seeds of milkweed plants. In this case, these large milkweed bugs are on Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed). They do cause damage, of course, because the eaten seeds will reduce the amount of self-seeding that the plants can do. But they don’t do any real harm to the plants themselves, which are fairly tough perennials. So, I let these alone. They are quite pretty, anyway.