Kansas State University


Extension Entomology

Category: Sunflower

Soldier Beetles

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth

Have had several inquiries regarding soldier beetles (please see fig 3 provided by Kaysie Morris). These beetles are quite common throughout Kansas and most commonly noticed in late summer as the adults are highly mobile, relatively large, and are very active searching for and feeding on pollen. Thus, they can be very common on any crop, or weed, that is pollinating, especially sunflowers, sorghum, and cucurbits such as cantaloupes and watermelons. Soldier beetles are often mistaken for blister beetles because of their size and shape but are not in the same taxonomic family and thus, produce no cantharidin, the chemical that causes external blisters in humans and other problems in livestock when ingested. However, soldier beetles are harmless.

Figure 3 soldier beetle


Sunflower Update – Gray and Red Seed Weevils

–by Dr. Jeff Whitworth and Dr. Holly Schwarting

Double-cropped sunflowers are highly susceptible to both gray and red sunflower seed weevils.  Most double-cropped sunflowers sampled in the past week, just reaching the bud stage, were significantly infested with both seed weevils, i.e. more than two of each species/plant.




These weevils are, and will be ovipositing and the small grub-like larvae will consume or otherwise destroy the seed.  This damage can significantly reduce yield if enough seeds are destroyed.  For more information on sunflower insect pest management, please refer to the KSU Sunflower Insect Management Guide: https://www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu/pubs/mf814.pdf