Spring Garden Tips
Coneflower Damage from Sunflower Head-Clipping Weevil

Clipped and dangling coneflowers, sunflowers, and some of the other members of the aster family mean the sunflower head-clipping weevil is busy at work in your garden.

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sunflower head-clipping weevilThe shiny black weevil feeds about 1 to 1 ½ inches below the flower. They eat a ring of small holes around most of the flower stem. Enough tissue remains so the flower head falls over yet it hangs on a thin bit of tissue. The female enters the flower to feed on the pollen and lay eggs. The flower eventually falls to the ground, eggs hatch and the immature weevil, a worm-like larvae, moves into the ground for winter. Next spring the larvae pupates, then transforms into a weevil and starts feeding on the flower stems in mid-summer.

Remove clipped flower heads from the plant and drop them in a can of soapy water. This kills the adult weevil and reduces the risk of future infestations.

A bit more information: Fortunately this pest is not life threatening, just annoying. Once discovered, monitor plantings to minimize damage and further reduce future infestations. For more details visit The Ohio State University webpage on this pest.

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