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Scouting Fields For Banded Sunflower Moths

SITUATION
The Banded Sunflower Moth (BSM) doesn’t do damage itself to the plant, but rather its larvae. When the larvae hatch they eat the inside of the seed and then exit, leaving behind a small hole. This can affect both the yield and test weight of the seed.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER
The moth will move into sunflowers around the R3 stage and lay eggs on the back of the bracts and now is the time to start monitoring your fields.
Ways to monitor fields:

  • Number of eggs per bract at R3-R4 stage
  • Using pheromone traps
  • Looking for adults in the field (can be difficult)

BSM in pheromone trap   Sunflower R3 Stage         Sunflower R5.1 Stage

ACTION PLAN
1. Thresholds at $18 market price is 2-3 eggs/6 bracts or 1 adult moth per 100 plants
2. Pheromone traps available to help with adult scouting
– Contact Jed Wall at (701) 640-1653 to find out how to acquire pheromone traps
3. Optimal insecticide application timing is at early bloom (R4-R5.1)
– For higher value contracts (confections) continue to scout your fields in case a second application is needed

RESOURCES
Sunflower Production Guide — Publications (ndsu.edu)
NDSU VIDEO: Banded Sunflower Moth Scouting