Insects on marsh sunflower - need identification

Asked October 12, 2019, 11:01 AM EDT

I planted a marsh sunflower earlier this year. This morning, I noticed several of its stalks had lines of small insects I have never seen before on them. One is some sort of spotted beetle-type insect. The others are smaller insects, some of which are red and some of which are black. I also saw a larger ant on one of the stalks that had the black insects. I am not sure if any of these insects are helpful, harmless, or harmful. I took some photos and was hoping that someone could identify these insects and let me know if I should be concerned for the plant/the other plants in my yard.

Montgomery County Maryland flowers cucumber beetle aphids marsh sunflower

1 Response

The insect in the left photo looks like a spotted cucumber beetle. They may take some bites out of the petals but will not affect the health of the plant.

Middle and right photos looks like aphids on the stems. Aphids are sucking insects and have varied color forms. They exude a honeydew as they feed. The ant is attracted to the honeydew so it tends the aphids. You can hose off the aphids with a strong stream of water. It is late in the season and plants are looking tired and tattered. No control is necessary. The plant should be fine and put out new growth next season.

Marian