Do my sunflowers have little munchers?

(Question)

Hello,
I have planted a bunch of sunflowers around the grounds of my apartment building; it should be quite a show. I’ve noticed that in one particular area the leaves of these baby sunflowers are getting little holes in them; it looks like I’m dealing with pests. Are there bugs that specifically like little sunflowers? The Spirea bushes that are there don’t seem to be affected at all. Are nematodes a good way to go? It is a small area that I’m talking about. The soil there is rich, probably too heavy, & usually moist due to sprinklers. (Zone 6A)

(Answer)

Hello,

Your sunflower leaves could be being attacked by a number of pests, such aphids (which are green and found on the underside of the leaf), weevils, beetles or slugs (leaving traces of slime on their path).  Since the soil is quite moist, the latter may be the culprits. In terms of Nematodes, according to the website nemetodes.com, “Beneficial Nematodes naturally occur in soil and are used to control soil pest insects and whenever larvae or grubs are present” so, in this case they may or may not solve your problem.

Good luck and let us know if you need further information.