Pest description and crop damage The adult has a dark band across yellowish tan forewings. The wingspan is about 0.5 inch. Early instar larvae are off-white; late instar larvae are pinkish to red with a brown head capsule. Sunflower heads are susceptible to infestation only during flowering. Larvae feed in the florets until the third instar, then tunnel into the seed. The larva usually enters near the top of the seed and leaves through the same opening after eating the contents. Each larva may destroy five to seven seeds. Areas of silken webbing on mature sunflower heads indicate the presence of banded sunflower moth larvae.
Management-cultural and biological control
Deep plowing sunflower stubble in fall in Manitoba reduced moth emergence the following season by about 80 percent. Research in North Dakota suggested that delaying planting sunflower until late May or early June may reduce infestation levels of the banded sunflower moth. Parasitic wasps attack both the eggs and larvae of the moth, and general predators in the sunflower field consume both larvae and eggs.
Banded sunflower moths tend to congregate around field margins just before plants flower. Treating the margins at this time can significantly reduce adults and minimize insecticide treatment costs and impacts on pollinators.
- Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) (several brands)-Consult label for rate. PHI 0 days. Some formulations are OMRI-listed for organic use.
- chlorpyrifos (numerous products) at 0.5 to 0.75 lb ai/a. Two treatments are permitted at 7-day intervals. Do not graze or feed treated forage. PHI 42 days. REI 24 hr.
- chlorpyrifos + lambda-cyhalothrin (Cobalt Advanced) at 16 to 38 fl oz/a. Do not graze or feed treated forage. PHI 45 days. REI 24 hr.
- chlorantraniliprole (Prevathon) at 8 to 20 fl oz/a. Do not apply more than 0.2 lb ai/a of chlorantraniliprole per season. PHI 21 days. REI 4 hr.
- deltamethrin (Delta Gold 1.5 EC) at 0.012 to 0.018 lb ai/a. Do not apply more than 0.045 lb ai/a per season. Do not graze or feed treated foliage to livestock. PHI 21 days. REI 12 hr.
- esfenvalerate (Asana XL) at 0.03 to 0.05 lb ai/a. Do not exceed 0.2 lb ai/a per season. PHI 28 days. REI 12 hr.
- gamma-cyhalothrin (Proaxis) at 0.01 to 0.015 lb ai/a. Do not apply more than 0.06 lb ai/a or more than 0.045 lb ai/a after bloom begins. Less product is allowed if other cyhalothrin pesticides are used; see label. PHI 45 days. REI 24 hr.
- lambda-cyhalothrin (Warrior II) at 0.02 to 0.03 lb ai/a. Do not apply more than 0.12 lb ai/a per season or more than 0.09 lb ai/a after bloom begins. PHI 45 days. REI 24 hr.
- lambda-cyhalothri + chlorantraniliprole (Besiege) at 6 to 10 fl oz/a. Do not apply more than 0.12 lb ai/a per season of lambda-cyhalothrin or more than 0.2 lb ai/a of chlorantraniliprole. PHI 45 days. REI 24 hr.