I am a very amateur gardener, and I decided to take a stab at growing sunflowers. They are still young, no flowers yet, and they seem pretty healthy. My only problem is there are these tiny yellow-black larvae-worms that are tunneling in the leaves of my sunflowers and eating the leaves from the inside out. I have not the slightest idea what they are.
I also have little black ants everywhere. They seem to be associated with the larvae-worms, but I don't know for sure. I live in New Mexico and my sunflowers are in a spot where they get sun all day except when New Mexico weather decides to, well, not be sunny.
My main questions: What are these bugs? Are they associated with the little black ants? Are the ants harming my flowers? How do I get rid of the larvae-worms without hurting my plants? Thanks.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By kioku-arielle from Albuquerque, NM
I don't know if this will work on sunflowers, but I use this on my veggies. I put dawn dish liquid in a spray bottle diluted with water and spray my plants. Not while the sun is out though, I wait till dark, and I never have a problem with bugs. Good luck
This sounds like leaf-miner. If so, they probably are not associated with the ants. They don't really hurt the plant except to diminish a little of the photosynthesis, but I don't think that would be much of a problem in your climate. If this is what is is, they will not affect the flowers. Good luck!
In my opinion, beneficial insects are the best way to get rid of leaf miners and their pesky adult bugs. I think there is a small wasp which is most effective but I suggest checking with your cooperative extension office about their recommendations.
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