The Q&A Archives: Sunflower Pests

Question: Sunflowers of about 2 feet in height are being invaded by unknown pest that attacks at night and bores hole in stem about 18 inches from ground; no visible sign of pest; flower appears fine in evening, next day it is fallen over on the ground with hole in stem.

Answer: Six kinds of bugs can infest sunflowers: four-lined plant bugs, harlequin bugs, stink bugs, tarnished plant bugs, corn earworm and the larvae of the painted lady butterfly. There's also a sunflower maggot and a cucumber beetle that are occasional pests. I'm not sure which one is causing the damage - or why! You might try putting the sticky substance 'Tanglefoot' on the stem of one of your sunflowers to see if you can catch the critter doing the damage. Once it's identified, we can recommend a control. Good luck with your remaining sunflowers!

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