Monitoring Pickleworm and Melonworm – Week of August 25, 2022

By Lorena Lopez, Kelly McIntyre, and Tom Kuhar

Last year, we at Virginia Tech started a pickleworm and melonworm monitoring program consisting of information exchange between cucurbit growers and extension agents across the state that looked for these pests’ damage to cucurbit blossoms or fruits. In 2021, we recorded up to 80% of squash fruits or flower buds infested with either pickleworms or melonworms. This year we continued with the monitoring efforts by monitoring closely summer squash fields in the Eastern Shore, Blacksburg, and Chesapeake area and no pickleworms nor melonworms have been detected.

Additionally, we set up traps with pickleworm pheromone lures in squash and pumpkin fields in Montross, Hillsville, Cape Charles, Painter, Hampton Roads, and Madison County. If these moths are present in the area, they will be attracted to the lure at night when they are active. After two weeks of trapping, no pickleworms or melonworms have been caught in the traps. We will continue to trap these pests as the summer squash season finishes and the pumpkin season continues and will keep you updated.

Pickleworm larva

Pickleworm adult