I went outside with camera in hand yesterday morning, intending to take photos of the bees on the sunflowers. With multiple blooms on each plant, it was time for those bee close-ups I was so excited about the other day.

Unfortunately, I didn't find bees. I didn't find happy sunflower blooms either. Instead I found tatters.


The plants are being ravaged by cucumber beetles!

The extreme heat of June and July made Japanese beetle damage minimal -- there just weren't that many Japanese beetles around. Maybe it was the drought? In any case, the cucumber beetles seem to be taking up the slack.

How many can be on a single flower at once? I count eight in the above photo. Eight!

They're working on the leaves too:

But prefer the blooms of course.

Into the bucket of soapy water they all go.

Apparently sunflowers have something for everyone: the finches aren't being shy either:

I wish they'd eat a few beetles while they're at it! (I'm not bothered by them eating seed -- that's one reason I plant these.)

Lovely even in tatters. I'll just pretend it's a variety with frilly petals...

Even with these issues, I still love growing sunflowers!

Does anybody else have this problem with sunflowers and beetles, or am I just lucky?


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Lucy Corrander Now in Halifax!  – (August 30, 2012 at 8:19 AM)  

Beautiful beetles. If only you could come to an agreement about which ones they eat and which they'd be prepared to leave to you.

Christine  – (August 30, 2012 at 4:07 PM)  

Agree they are still beautiful!

Lisa  – (August 30, 2012 at 9:56 PM)  

Birds, bugs... somebody was going to eat them! Although the finches at least leave the petals alone!

Curbstone Valley Farm  – (August 31, 2012 at 9:40 PM)  

Goodness, your cucumber beetles have voracious appetites. I'm thankful I never see quite so many in one place. That said though, we do have a small black beetle, whose identity is unknown (to me), and they seem to be drawn to anything yellow in the garden, and do similar petal damage to my Encelia.

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