Sunflower beetle

Zygogramma exclamationis

The sunflower beetle zygogramma exclamationis feeds only on sunflower. The beetle can be confused with the Colorado potato beetle. The sunflower beetle is smaller, 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, and characterized by three distinct dark stripes. The larvae have a unique 'humpbacked' appearance. This insect was problematic during much of the last two decades in the northern region but has been largely eliminated with insecticide seed treatments.
Life Cycle: There is one generation of the sunflower beetle. Adults overwinter and emerge in the spring and begin to feed. Eggs are laid on the sunflower stem and the underside of leaves.
Damage: The sunflower beetle is a defoliator. Defoliation of the entire early leaves can have a negative yield impact. Later feeding by the larvae can be severe leading to reduced yield and poor seed set. The damage to mature leaves creates a ‘lace-like' appearance. The sunflower plant can withstand a considerable amount of defoliation without a yield impact.

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