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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Biological Control of Sunflower Pests: Searching for Parasitoids in Nativehelianthus - Challenges, Constraints, and Potential

Author
item Charlet, Laurence

Submitted to: Thomas Say Publications in Entomology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 27, 1998
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Sunflower is an important oilseed crop worldwide and in the United States. Cultivated sunflower is derived from the common annual sunflower, Helianthus annuus L, a species native to North America. There are 49 described species of Helianthus. Many insects are associated with sunflower, but few are serious pests. Many are held in check by natural enemies that have evolved with the insects in native sunflowers. The insect species of main concern to cultivated sunflower in the Great Plains include the banded sunflower moth, the sunflower beetle, the sunflower stem weevil, the sunflower midge, the red sunflower seed weevil, and the sunflower moth,. Natural enemies have been reported for these pests, but the level of control in many years has been inadequate to maintain the pests below economic levels. Further work is needed to explore the parasitoid fauna in the sunflower agroecosystem, in the different native sunflower species, and to develop methods to conserve existing parasitoids, augment species present, or introduce additional natural enemies to reduce economic losses in the sunflower crop.

Technical Abstract: Sunflower is an important oilseed crop worldwide and in the United States. Cultivated sunflower is derived from the common annual sunflower, Helianthus annuus L, a species native to North America. There are 49 described species of Helianthus. Numerous insect species are associated with sunflower, but few are serious pests. Many pest species are held in check by natural enemies that have evolved with them in native sunflowers. The insect species of main concern to cultivated sunflower in the Great Plains include the banded sunflower moth, Cochylis hospes Walsingham, the sunflower beetle, Zygogramma exclamationis (Fabricius), the sunflower stem weevil, Cylindrocopturus adspersus (LeConte), the sunflower midge, Contarinia schulzi Gagne, the red sunflower seed weevil, Smicronyx fulvus LeConte, and the sunflower moth, Homoeosoma electellum (Hulst). Natural enemies have been reported for these pests, but their efficacy in controlling the pests in many years has been inadequate to maintain their populations below economic injury levels. Further work is needed to explore the parasitoid fauna in the sunflower agroecosystem, in different native sunflower species, and to develop methods to conserve existing parasitoids, augment species present, or introduce additional natural enemies to reduce economic losses in the sunflower crop.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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