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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Management Strategies for Insect Pests of Sunflower in North America

Authors
item Charlet, Laurence
item Brewer, Gary - NDSU

Submitted to: Research Signpost: Recent Development in Entomology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: April 10, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Sunflower is an important oilseed crop worldwide. Cultivated sunflower is derived from the common annual sunflower, a species native to North America. There are approximately 50 described species which occur throughout the United States and into Canada and Mexico. Sunflower probably originated in the southwestern U.S. and became domesticated about 3000 B.C. Sunflower was used by the Native Americans as a food source, a dye, medicine, and as a body and hair oil. European visitors to America introduced sunflower to Spain in the early 1500's and it gradually spread across the continent. It was adopted as a crop in Russia in the early 19th century and reintroduced as a crop by Mennonite immigrants to Canada into North America beginning about 1875. The major production of sunflower as a cultivated crop began in Canada in the 1950's and in the U.S. in the 1970's. Thus, the cultivated sunflower has been reintroduced into regions inhabited by its native ancestors on which a diversity of insect species coevolved. Many insects are associated with sunflower, but few are serious pests. The insect species of main concern to cultivated sunflower in North America include the sunflower beetle, the sunflower stem weevil, the red and gray sunflower seed weevils, the banded sunflower moth, the sunflower moth, and the sunflower midge. The biology and current and potential management strategies for these pests are reviewed and discussed.

Technical Abstract: Sunflower is an important oilseed crop worldwide. Cultivated sunflower is derived from the common annual sunflower, Helianthus annuus L., a species native to North America. There are approximately 50 described species of Helianthus. Many insects are associated with sunflower, but few are serious pests. The insect species of main concern to cultivated sunflower in North America include: the sunflower beetle, Zygogramma exclamationis (Fabricius); the sunflower stem weevil, Cylindrocopturus adspersus (LeConte); the red and gray sunflower seed weevils, Smicronyx fulvus LeConte and S. sordidus LeConte, respectively; the banded sunflower moth, Cochylis hospes Walsingham; the sunflower moth, Homoeosoma electellum (Hulst); and the sunflower midge, Contarinia schulzi Gagne. The biology and current and potential management strategies for these pests are reviewed and discussed.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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