Damaged buds often fail to open. Those that do will show evidence of feeding on the petals. Damage normally peaks in late summer because of increased numbers from the second generation.
Control of the budworm is difficult. Handpicking at dusk can be effective on small plantings. For larger plantings, chemical control may be the only practical option. Look for products with synthetic pyrethroid active ingredients such as permethrin (Bonide Eight and Hi-Yield Lawn, Garden, Pet and Livestock Insect Control), esfenvalerate (Asana, Bug Buster II), cyfluthrin (BioAdvanced Vegetable & Garden Insect Spray), bifenthrin (Hi-Yield Bug Blaster Bifenthrin) or gamma-cyhalothrin (Spectracide Triazicide). Products with the organic active ingredient spinosad (Natural Guard Spinosad, Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew, Monterey Garden Insect Spray) should also be effective.
Severe winters can be a natural form of control from one year to the next. Temperatures below 20 degrees F are hard enough to kill overwintering pupa. Because pupal cases are usually 2 to 6 inches deep, most exposed areas in Kansas will provide good control during a cold winter. Microclimates next to heated buildings may allow survival. (Ward Upham)