When the sunflower seeds are formed, but not yet mature, wrap each sunflower head in cheesecloth. This will keep birds away and also keep the seeds dry, which is important to prevent mold and larvae.
Some types of sunflower seeds almost always have worms in them.There are two kinds of insects belonging to the same group which commonly prey on sunflower seeds. They are the Red and Grey Seed Weevils. These insects usually show up in late June or early July, and are quite easy to identify, thanks to the snouts seen on both the varieties. These insects feed on the pollen for several days and then lay eggs in the developing seeds.
The red seed weevil female generally lays eggs in about 27 seeds, and the hatched larvae eats up a portion of the kernel, before it drops out of the seed. On the other hand, even though the gray seed weevil female lays fewer eggs than the red seed weevil one, it lays them earlier in the R-3 or 4 stage, and the gray seed weevil larvae usually consumes most of the kernel before dropping out. The infested gray weevil seeds are blown out of the combine, but this is not something that happens where the red weevil is concerned.
Even prepackaged sunflower seeds are known to have worms. However, in this case the worms in the sunflower seeds would be dead as the seeds are roasted and salted before being packed. However, you can identify worm eaten seeds by either the holes in the seed shells, or the bitter taste while eating.
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