Squash Vine Borer
The squash vine borer is a very destructive pest of squash and pumpkins in North Carolina. It is present east of the Rocky Mountains from Canada to South America. Borers also attack cucumbers and melons to a lesser degree.
The adult looks like a "clear-winged" moth with greenish-black scales on the front wings and transparent hind wings. They have a wing expanse of 1/2 inches. The abdomen is ringed with orange and black. They fly swiftly and noisily about plants during the daytime. Female moths lay their small, oval, somewhat flattened, brownish eggs on stems in May or early June. Young borers hatch in about a week, tunnel into stems, feed and are full grown in about four weeks. They have a brownish head, six short slender legs on the thorax (body) and five pairs of short false legs on the abdomen. Larvae leave their burrows and make a cocoon in the soil. Two or three weeks later, adults emerge, giving rise to a second generation of larvae. This pest overwinters an inch or two below the soil surface inside a tough, dirt-covered, silk-lined, black cocoon about 3/4 inch long, in either the larval or pupal stage.
Photo courtesy of Clemson University Department of Entomology, Soils & Plant Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service.
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