The moth can be very damaging. The adult moth is 0.38 inch long, with 0.75 inch wingspread. Color is buff to gray. View photos of the sunflower moth and its larva in the Photo Gallery.
Larva: Brown head capsule with alternate dark and light lines running longitudinally, 0.75 inch in length.
Economic Threshold: 1 to 2 adults/5 plants at onset of bloom or within seven days of the adult moth's first appearance. Adults are migratory and usually appear in early to mid-July. Larvae tunnel in seeds from late July to late August.
Scouting: Scouting is most accurate in the early morning or late evening, when moths are active.
Common Errors: Waiting too long to spray during flowering is a common error. If populations are present, the decision to spray an insecticide should be made during R-5.1-5.3. Too often the applicator is delayed or weather conditions are not conducive for aerial application. A delay such as this can cause considerable loss.
Avoid spraying during peak foraging activity of pollinators during mid-morning to late afternoon. Spraying during the heat of the day can also cause a reversion of the spray thus keeping it from penetrating the sunflower canopy. The best time to spray insecticide during hot weather is early evening.
CLICK HERE to go to the Banded Sunflower Moth page.
Photos: Visit the Photo Gallery.
Another resource about Insects can be found in the Archive section of The Sunflower magazine.