Organic management of cucumber beetles in muskmelon
This research was published as:
R. Cline, John D. Sedlacek, Steve L. Hillman, Sharon K. Parker, and
Anthony F. Silvernail. 2008. Organic Management of Cucumber Beetles in
Watermelon and Muskmelon Production. HortTechnology 18: 436-444
Examine the use of companion
plants, aluminum-coated plastic, pyrethrin, and row covers as
organic methods for managing cucumber beetles in muskmelon production.
Materials and Methods
- In 2003 and 2004 muskmelons were transplanted into a plastic-mulch system with trickle irrigation, managed according to organic standards, in plots of four 28-foot rows, spaced seven feet apart. Half of each row was covered with a polypropylene row cover for three weeks after transplanting.
- Plots were randomly assigned to one of four pest management treatments:
(A) Control (no pest management)
(B) Pyrethrin insecticide.
(C) Aluminum-coated plastic mulch
(D) Companion plant rows between melons
- In 2004 the pyrethrin treatment was replaced with a combination of aluminum plastic mulch and companion plants.
- Plots were separated by at least 60-feet. Each treatment was replicated three times in a randomized complete block design.
- Four sticky traps per plot were used to monitor cucumber beetle populations. Traps were changed weekly.
- Melon yields were based on plot areas cropped with melons, excluding areas dedicated to companion plants.
- In 2003 all treatments reduced cucumber beetle catches, relative to untreated control plots. This effect was not significant in 2004.
- Aluminum coated plastic and companion plants both increased muskmelon yields, relative to untreated control plots, in 2003 and 2004. A combination of aluminum coated plastic and companion plants offered the highest yield in 2004.
- Row covers increased yield in all plots.
- All treatments were effective. Combining treatments strategies offered synergistic yield benefits, suggesting that individual treatments had different modes of action.
Updated July 6, 2009