Pickleworm and Melonworm Monitoring Update

By Lorena Lopez and Tom Kuhar; Virginia Tech Department of Entomology

Last week, we continued to find pickleworms borrowing into zucchini squash flowers (Fig. 1) in the Eastern Shore, whereas the incidence of melonworms borrowing in the fruit started to decrease. Additionally, there was evidence of pickleworms borrowing into garden-grown pumpkins in the Chesapeake area, including new borrowing holes found on fruit harvested after a few days (Fig. 2-3).

In the Northern Neck (Montross and Warsaw specifically), zucchini squash, crookneck squash, and pumpkin fields were checked for pickleworm and melonworm infestation in mid-September and early October. There was no evidence of worm infestation.

Figure 1. Pickleworm larva (Diaphania nitidalis) in a zuchinni squash flower (Photo by K. Grabowski)
Figure 2. Pickleworm larva emerging from a pumpkin after long exposure to the sun. Leaving the fruit outdoors may cause the fruit to heat up enough to cause disturbance to the pickleworm (Photo by K. Grabowski)
Figure 3. Pickleworm injury to garden-grown pumpkin in the Cheasepeak area (Photo by K. Grabowski)