Vegetable Crops News

Trickle Irrigation Application of Nematodes for Striped Cucumber Beetle Control

The striped cucumber beetle is an important pest of cucurbits (melons, squash, cucumbers) that can cause losses as high as 50% of the crop, especially in muskmelons and watermelons. In many areas of the Midwest, cucurbits are planted on plastic mulch with trickle irrigation. Research conducted in Vincennes, Indiana showed that nematodes can be applied through trickle irrigation equipment, delivering the nematodes where they are needed, with no wasted material. Since this beetle is a close relative of the corn rootworm, the nematodes that kill corn rootworm larvae should be effective against striped cucumber beetle, too, although field trials were inconclusive due to low levels of striped cucumber beetles during the testing. However, this method of nematode distribution has great potential in controlling soil insects in irrigated vegetables.

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