Cucumber Beetles, Corn Rootworms, and Bacterial Wilt in Cucurbits

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Cucumber beetles are the most important insect pests of vine crops or cucurbits (cucumber, squash, melon, and pumpkins) in New York State and across much of the United States. The striped cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittatum) and the spotted cucumber beetle (Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardi) occur in the Northeast. The striped cucumber beetle, typically the most common in New York, feeds primarily on cucurbits, whereas the spotted cucumber beetle has a much wider range host of host plants. The immuture spotted cucumber beetle is called the southern corn rootworm because it feeds on roots of corn. Cucumber beetles can cause losses to cucurbits by direct feeding on young plants, blossoms, and fruit. They also vector bacterial wilt, which is caused by Erwinia tracheiphila, a particular important disease of cucumber and melons.

Michael P. Hoffmann
Thomas A. Zitter
Cornell Cooperative Extension