sunflower moth larvae not just on coneflowers

rouge21_gw(5)July 31, 2013

Take a look at your coneflower cones next time you are out in the garden. If you see cones which have a blackened centre as one of mine you can see below, (the front and centre 'powwow' white flower)

then very likely your echinacea have the "sunflower larvae" burrowed in the flower. To verify simply break open the flower and look inside. You may well see a small green worm (larva).

And now I notice this year this same pest is destroying flowers of similar plants., For example I see my stands of "Tuscan Sun" Heliopsis has the problem also:

Disappointing.

Here is a link that might be useful: sunflower larvae in your flowers

This post was edited by rouge21 on Wed, Jul 31, 13 at 17:07

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a2zmom(6a - nj)

Between this, aster yellows and the the echinacea mite, it's a wonder to have any decent looking coneflowes.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 6:32PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

What is worrisome is that this pest seems to affect many of the Asteraceae family. For me personally I will have so much less colour this August if the spread continues.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 9:11AM
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trovesoftrilliums(5)

Ugh.

I have these too, both plant types. I thought the heliopsis might be some other insect as it looks a bit different, but now I am pretty sure it is the same as you describe.

Let me guess, helenium is in the same family?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:23PM
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a2zmom(6a - nj)

Indeed it is.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 12:43PM
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rouge21_gw(5)

This worm is rampant in my heliopsis "Tuscan Sun" as most of the flowers have some dark rotted spot in the "cone". I split one in half just now and here is the worm in question.

So many plants in this family are at great risk. This isnt good.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 9:50AM
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totallyconfused

Looks like I've got these too. Ugh!

TotallyConfused

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 5:01PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Just found them today. Thanks for the heads up Rouge. Bummer........

    Bookmark   August 3, 2013 at 4:29PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I probably have this caterpillar too. I have been thinking the damage was caused by mites, earwigs, and/or beetles since the coneflowers are looking pretty ratty this year.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 2:54AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

This pest is so rampant in my 4 "Tuscan Sun" Heliopsis.

This plant is the most incredible bloom machine but in each of the two years I have had these 4 specimens they have been 'home' to both a major infestation of aphids and this sunflower moth larvae.

I am assuming that any effective insecticide for these larvae will harm those very important beneficial pollinating insects i.e. bees and so regretfully I will consider a replacement border plant this winter (I am counting on you guys and girls for your advice).

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 3:23AM
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ryseryse_2004

What about BT? It is effective with lots of types of caterpillars and won't hurt the beneficial insects. Worth a try?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:43AM
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rouge21_gw(5)

In fact I have a bottle of BTK on hand. Doing some on-line looking it does appear it is...."safe" for many insects. I may give it a try on one of the affected plants as an experiment.

This post was edited by rouge21 on Mon, Aug 5, 13 at 1:05

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 12:54AM
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