Comparison of Management Strategies for Squash Bugs (Hemiptera: Coreidae) in Watermelon

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Two watermelon pest management practices, a squash trap crop and a standard recommendation using soil-applied carbofuran, were compared using large-scale field plots to assess trap crop suitability as a replacement for the standard in 2000, 2001, and 2002. In both systems, foliar insecticide applications were used to control squash bugs when populations exceeded threshold levels. During 2001 and 2002, a treatment of untreated watermelon was used. Early season adult insects, from seedling to fruit set, are most critical for watermelon. Significantly fewer early adult bugs were found on watermelon in the trap crop than in the standard recommended practice in 1 of 3 yr. In both years, significantly fewer adult squash bugs were found in watermelon in the trap crop than in untreated fields. The standard recommended practice significantly reduced adult squash bugs in watermelon compared with the untreated in 1 of 2 yr. There was no significant correlation of watermelon yield and squash bug density, indicating that squash bug densities were too low to impact yield. Although squash bugs were reduced significantly by the trap crop, marketable watermelon yields were lower in the squash trap crop than in untreated watermelon, suggesting that pest management treatments may interfere with crop productivity factors other than squash bug colonization. Results suggest that mid-season production squash bug should be managed by monitoring populations and using insecticides as needed rather than using at-plant treatment. Further research is needed to compare treatments during early-season production.

Keywords: carbofuran; cucurbit pests; trap crop

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • Journal of Economic Entomology is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December. The journal publishes articles on the economic significance of insects and is divided into the following sections: apiculture & social insects; arthropods in relation to plant disease; forum; insecticide resistance and resistance management; ecotoxicology; biological and microbial control; ecology and behavior; sampling and biostatistics; household and structural insects; medical entomology; molecular entomology; veterinary entomology; forest entomology; horticultural entomology; field and forage crops, and small grains; stored-product; commodity treatment and quarantine entomology; and plant resistance. In addition to research papers, Journal of Economic Entomology publishes Letters to the Editor, interpretive articles in a Forum section, Short Communications, Rapid Communications, and Book Reviews.
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