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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. 

The 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.

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