Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/2013
Publication Date: 5/1/2015
Citation: Prasifka, J.R. 2015. Sunflower insect pests. In: Foce, E.M., Dunford, N. and Salas, J.J. (eds.). Sunflower: Chemistry, Production, Processing, and Utilization. American Oil Chemists’ Society Press, Urbana, Illinois. pp 157-174.
Technical Abstract: While many insects have been noted as pests of sunflower in North America and elsewhere, few of those species represent significant, consistent constraints on sunflower production and management. In North America, where insect problems in sunflower are most serious, the abundance or distribution of some species has changed significantly in recent decades. Additionally, research on the primary insect pests (the sunflower moth, banded sunflower moth, red sunflower seed weevil, sunflower stem weevil and Dectes stem borer) since the late 1990’s has provided additional information on pest biology that should lead to improved pest management. In particular, there appears to be potential for improved management using host plant resistance to produce sunflower hybrids with lower susceptibility to insect pests. Estimates of sunflower insect damage using annual surveys suggest that damage from sunflower insects is usually low when cultural practices and insecticides are used together. However, insecticides can represent a significant production cost that is not captured by data that consider only direct damage to the crop. Outside of North America, insect pests of sunflower include both generalists which attack sunflower opportunistically, and more focused feeders that exploit Helianthus and other Asteraceae. Relative to oilseeds, confection sunflowers have lower tolerances for insect injury, including cosmetic blemishes, which encourages more frequent use of insecticides. Because of the similarities between insect pests in North America and other sunflower growing areas (often species from the same genera), any advances in insect management in North America, including host plant resistance, should be beneficial to sunflower production worldwide.