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Sunflower Insect Pests

Sunflower Insect Pests

Sunflower hosts a number of Insect Pests.  You should be scouting for head infesting insects in your fields now.

Red Sunflower Seed Weevils, Sunflower Moth and Banded Sunflower Moth can all damage heads as they flower and begin to form the seeds that you want to harvest. All of these insects feed on pollinating flowers and developing seeds and can cause lack of seed set and hollowed out seeds at harvest time.  Scouting now can help you decide if treatment is warranted. As few as 4 weevils per head, 1 sunflower moth adult per 5 heads, or 2 banded adult moths per 100 plants can cause economic damage especially with the high value of sunflower this year.  Visit http://www.sunflowernsa.com/growers/Insects/  for guidance on how to scout for these insects.

  Red Sunflower Seed Weevil, sdstate.edu

  Sunflower Moth,  sdstate.edu

  Banded Sunflower Moth, sdstate.edu

Photos ( https://extension.sdstate.edu/its-time-start-scouting-red-sunflower-seed-weevils )

As sunflower fields begin to bloom, adults of Red Sunflower Seed Weevil (RSSW) will be emerging and will fly to the nearest flowering sunflowers. RRSW are small (0.12 inch) with a snout and are reddish orange. Sunflower Moth (SM) adults are small (0.38 inch) grayish in color and when sitting hold resemble a cigar shape.  Banded Sunflower Moth (BSM) can be identified by their small size (1/4 inch long) and forewings with a triangular, dark brown band across the middle of the wing. Once the decision to treat has been made, it is critical to time the spray application correctly to get effective management of all sunflower head insects, including RRSW, SM, BSM, and Lygus bug. The best sunflower plant stage to treat is when the majority of plants are in the R5.1 growth stage.

Pyrethroids, Chlorpyrifos, and Cyantraniliprole products are all registered for foliar application on sunflowers and will control these head insects.

  R5.1.   Stages of Sunflower Development…ag.ndsu.edu

  R5.5.   Stages of Sunflower Development…ag.ndsu.edu