Pests That Attack Sunflowers

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

June 12, 20090 found this helpful

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

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June 16, 20090 found this helpful

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!

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June 16, 20090 found this helpful

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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