Red Spotted Weevil on Sunflowers

This picture illustrates weevil insect damage on sunflowers; holes with brown, rotting edges, and top of the plant cut off.

Damaged Sunflower, May 2014

When I found holes in the stem and about a food missing at the top of this sunflower (pictured above), I didn’t expect to find a tiny weevil responsible for the damage!

Picture of a Red Spotted Weevil on Sunflower, May 2014; the red body, black spots, and distinct elongated "snout" are shown.

Red Spotted Weevil on Sunflower, May 2014

Weevils cause plant damage by using mouth parts and drilling holes in the plant, then feeding on the plant sap. These weevils have “snout” (see picture above) structures similar to the boll weevil—a major economic pest on cotton.

Growing Sunflowers

This year we are growing sunflowers; ten different varieties–I had no idea so many sizes and colors existed! So far, 6 of the varieties have blooms, can hardly wait to see the rest. The “Teddy Bear” variety looks like a mum, it is about a foot tall and loaded with multiple blooms. This one would probably work just fine in container gardens.

Sunflowers are sometimes considered to be weeds, but I enjoy their addition as ornamentals to the gardens.


Seed was purchased from Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, Texas, planted in peat pellets on March 22 and the seedlings began sprouting on March 26 (see above).

Sunflower plants were transplanted to the onion bed

Sunflowers in Onion Bed, April 26, 2014

After plants were about 3 inches tall, they were transferred to 4 inch pots. Three plants from each variety were planted in rows between onions (see “Sunflowers in Onion Bed”) on April 26 and the onion harvest began May 9. Large onions were produced throughout the bed, there was no indication that the sunflowers reduced the yield.