Sunflower Help

Hey Everyone,

So, I found out I cut some sunflowers early by accident. Only 3, so it wasn’t a big deal. However, when some of the outer-edge seeds were ready, I noticed that every seed had a hole in it. Inside those holes were little grub-worm things that sort of looked like a green-ish maggot. It looks like they bored through the seeds and decided to live there for a while.

If there is any way I can get rid of them organically, please let me know. If you know what they are, I would love to know that as well. Thanks!

Ben

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. Could be sunflower seed weevil or the banded sunflower moth. The eggs were deposited in the early stages of seed development. Because the sunflower’s flowers bloom in sequence from the outside of the head to the inside control, organic or not, is difficult without also affecting bees.

    Possibly an application of a Bt species might reduce populations of both moth and weevil larvae. Look up “Control of Sunflower Moth Larva” by Elmer C. Carlson (July 1968) for some pretty helpful info on when to apply pesticides. His study induces thuricide which is a form of Bt. There are other studies, too, more recent but he says to apply the pesticides as soon as the flowers bloom for three times over a period of 55 to 21 days (it’s all in the first paragraph).

    At this stage of your sunflowers control is not going to make much difference but for next year you’ll be ready.

    1. Make that 15 to 21 days not “55 to 21 days”.

      1. and “includes” not “induces”. D*** tiny window for typing.

      2. It’s okay, no worries! I got it all!

      3. Good!

        There is recent research on weevils and Bt control. Most is about transgene sunflowers with Bt genes but I think the important idea fro Carlson is that Bt if applied to sunflowers at the right stage can be effective in controlling these seed eaters. On a large scale the yields were reduced by ~1/3 but on a small scale it might be better as you could treat each plant individually rather than by a mass spray of Bt.

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