Pickleworm revisited


Many struggled last past year with pickleworms attacking squash, cucumbers and other cucurbits.

Infested fruit will grow to no more than golf ball size, turn yellow, and drop. Upon cutting the fruit open, one or more pickleworm larvae are found.

The pickleworm moth was discovered in Oahu in 2003, and by 2005, it had spread to Kauai, Maui and the Big Island. It attacks many cucurbits such as cucumber, squash, pumpkin, zucchini and cantaloupe.

The pumpkin squash seems to be the most susceptible. Caterpillars like to feed on the blossoms and afterward burrow into the developing fruit. The adult moths are colored with yellow and brown and have a purplish sheen.

Pickleworm is a difficult pest to control. For commercial crops, some insecticides are registered on cucurbits and have been successful with repeated sprays.

One of the lesser toxic insecticides that may be effective is the organic Bt product, standing for Bacillus thuringiensis.

Bt is actually bacteria which are deadly to the moth larvae

 

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