Galls and Insect problems on
squash, melons, pumpkins and pickles
By John Fulton
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[July 07, 2014]
Galls - One group of problems
showing up is galls. Galls are swelling of leaves, twigs, or other
plant parts. Most are caused by mites or wasps. They damage the
plant parts and the plant responds with a gall.
In the case of leaves, the swelling is actually leaf tissue.
This is something I like to refer to as similar to you getting a
mosquito bite. The damage comes in and a swelling occurs. There
is no way to get rid of it without tearing a small hole in the
leaf. The maple leaf bladder gall will be easily spotted on
silver maples in the area shortly, and oak leaves in the red oak
group are also showing galls.
Oak trees probably have more galls than any other group of
trees. Several samples have also been brought in of the stem
types of galls. Fortunately, the oak galls are usually not the
type to kill tissue beyond them. However, the galls aren’t the
most pleasant things to look at. That is the main thing – they
There is no cure for galls, as they are caused by insects before
you see the swellings. The timing would be impossible to try and
prevent the insects.
Insect Problems on Squash, Melons, Pumpkins, and Pickles
Everything in the squash, melon, pumpkin, and cucumber families
are cucurbits. There are several potential insect problems with
them, and today’s column attempts to help minimize or prevent
these problems. The first group of insects is the cucumber
beetles. These can be green, black and yellow striped, or black
and yellow spotted. The importance of the beetles is not that
they eat small holes in the leaves, but that the beetles can
transmit a bacterial wilt to the plants as they eat. The first
thing you see is you have a plant that suddenly wilts on various
runners, or the entire plant can wilt. The best means of
controlling this disease is a good beetle control program.
Current homeowner recommendations would include these products
with the days to harvest restrictions in parenthesis: carbaryl
(0), bifenthrin (3 days), or rotenone (1 day).
Of course, Japanese beetles love cucurbits as well. Their damage
is direct leaf feeding. Remember they feed in groups, so once
they get started you will have a battle on your hands. The
carbaryl and bifenthrin are both good control measures. Look for
Japanese beetles to start in earnest in about two weeks.
[to top of second column]
Squash bugs are the next problem to discuss. Squash bugs are
usually dark gray to black in color and like a long stink bug.
Their eggs usually hatch mid-June to mid-July. The best timing
for control is when the eggs first hatch. Non-restricted
products are sabadilla (1 day), which is an organic product that
might be a little hard to find, and bifenthrin (3 days to
harvest). One last note, if the squash bugs get past their early
growth stages then physically removing them is about the only
control method available, or as the old joke goes you brick them
(one brick in each hand clapped on the squash bug).
The last insect problem on cucurbits is squash vine borers.
These borers usually drill into the new runner areas and kill
off individual runners at a time. The adult of these larvae are
red and black clear-winged moths. Scout your plants and look for
the adults, as well as entrance holes and the chewed-up plant
material. Treat as soon as early damage occurs and use one of
the following products for homeowners: carbaryl, bifenthrin, or
rotenone. Days to harvest restrictions have already been covered
(and these would also apply to pumpkin blossoms).
[By JOHN FULTON, COUNTY EXTENSION
DIRECTOR SERVING LOGAN, MENARD, AND SANGAMON COUNTIES]