It seems like every year I get to go up against some new insect that wants to stir the pot in my garden. Fake wasps dry humping my vines, mutant Japanese beetle things a few gamma rays away from a Godzilla movie, threatening spiders, and worms disguised as leaves to infiltrate my tomatoes.
At least the hummingbird moth hasn’t wronged me.
This summer, I’ve become aware of a higher percentage of broken off coneflower heads. The heads are left hanging by the barest scrap of stem. I’ve blamed the evidence of my new adversary on my darling goldfinches who are constantly in and out of the flowers eating seeds and screaming, “Heeeyyy, yoousse guys!!,” but the way the stem was broken just doesn’t make sense for the birds.
On a hunch, I dissected three hanging flower heads, and three for three I found evil in the form of a shiny beetle with an anteater’s nose. My gut said “Weevil” and the Internet clarified “Sunflower Head-clipping Weevil.” That’s so frigging specific!
It was time to go to war. War with a bucket of soapy water.
Warning: The following portion of this post has been approved for “mature audiences” only due to language, implied violence, and maybe an implied sex scene.
If you’d like to read a thoughtful explanation of the Sunflower Head-Clipping Weevil and how to deal with it, please follow the links above. My version is much more sweary and less scientific.
Here’s what the motherfuckin’ Sunflower Head-Clipping Weevil does. It really likes coneflowers, but I’ve also found them on my Black-eyed Susans and blanket flowers. It likes them so much that it uses its giant nose teeth to snip a perfect circle around the stem just an inch or so below the flower, leaving one little leftover bite so the head of the flowers still dangles from the stem.
Then the Sunflower Head-Clipping Weevil goes inside the flower head and HAS SEX. It fucks inside a decapitated head like some conquering Game of Thrones incestuous viking, dragon motherfucker! (I don’t watch Game of Thrones. I just know there’s a ton of boobies and dragons. So I’ve heard.)
Then they eat all the pollen on that flower, and lay a bunch of eggs inside the head where they just had weevil sex. When the flower head finally falls off, the larva crawl into the ground to winterize and repeat the whole goddamned cycle!
You can’t spray for these assholes because they invade blooming plants and you don’t want to kill the pollinators. Drowning was the only suggested solution. So I rolled up on these bitches with a bucket of soapy water, shears, and my bug squishing gloves. They have plastic coated fingertips. I spent my morning drowning weevils like some kind of gardening mafiosa.
Tired from mass murdering bugs (and doing some planting), I went inside for lunch, and that is when they retaliated with a surprise strike.
Eating in the Happy Morning Sunshine room, I glanced out the back doors to the garden. Something was off.
The head of my “Now Cheesier” coneflower (Ok, there are all kinds of varieties and colors of coneflowers. The “Mac and Cheese” coneflower which is a lovely Velveeta shade came out in 2008. “Now Cheesier” is the follow up.) that I had planted not even an hour ago appeared to be drooping. Not drooping. PERFECTLY SNIPPED! FUCKERS!
It’s like they left a horse head in my bed! The war will continue.