Holes in Canteloupe and Watermelon fruit - Knowledgebase Question

PEACHTREE CITY, Ge
Question by epcummings
August 18, 2010
I have two different kinds of watermelon and one kind of canteloupe. They were growing great with lots of fruits growing. This past week I noticed small holes in almost all of them and found mushy flesh on the ground near the fruits. What pest is the culprit? Is there still time for pest control to save future fruits or do I need to pull the plants out? Thank you!


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Answer from NGA
August 18, 2010

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I think your crop for this year is gone. What you describe sounds like pickleworm damage but if you want a positive identification, collect a few and take them to your local cooperative extension office. The pickleworm (Diaphania nitidalis) severely damages cucumbers, cantaloupes, summer squash and pumpkins. It also feeds on other cucurbits, such as winter squash, and watermelons.

Pickleworm damage occurs when the caterpillars tunnel in flowers, buds, stems and fruits. They prefer the fruits. Frass (sawdust-like insect waste) often protrudes from small holes in damaged fruits. At times, damaged fruits cannot be recognized until they are cut open. Damaged fruits are not edible. Flowers, buds and sometimes entire plants may be killed.

There's not much you can do to save your melons once they've been invaded by pickleworms. Wish I had more positive info for you.

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