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Pests and their Damage—Seedlings (Cotyledons to 4 leaves)

On this page
  • Beet armyworm
  • Cabbage looper
  • Cucumber beetle adults (especially in honeydew, crenshaw, and casaba melons)
  • Cutworms
  • Flea beetles
  • Green peach aphid
  • Melon aphid
  • Squash bug (in squash, pumpkin, and melon)
  • Whiteflies

Look for the following pests or their damage and manage as needed according to the Cucurbits Pest Management Guidelines.

Names link to information on identification and management.

Click on photos to enlarge
Larva of beet armyworm.
Beet armyworm
Identification tip: The larva is usually dull green and has wavy, light-colored stripes running lengthwise down the back and broader stripes on each side.
Cabbage looper larva.
Cabbage looper
Identification tip: A green caterpillar with a narrow white stripe along each side and several narrow lines down the back; has a characteristic arch as it crawls.
Monitoring tip: Monitor adult flights with pheromone traps and observe egg laying to time treatments.
Chewing damage to cotyledons and leaves of a honeydew melon seedling caused by western striped cucumber beetle.
Cucumber beetle damage
Identification tip: Adults chew leaves.
Black cutworm larva.
Identification tip: The mature larva is robust, about 1-1/2 inches long, with brown or gray mottled skin. It tends to curl into a C-shape when disturbed.
Tobacco flea beetle adult.
Flea beetle adult
Identification tip: The adult is small and shiny with enlarged hind legs. When disturbed it jumps like a flea.
Green peach aphids.
Green peach aphid adults
Identification tip: Adults are slender in form and light green or yellowish. The winged form is pale or bright green and black, with a large dusky blotch on top of the abdomen.
Adult cotton aphid (melon aphid).
Melon aphid adults
Identification tip: Adults are round and yellowish (right) or greenish black with ridges (left). There are winged and wingless forms.
Squash bug feeding causes parts of vines to wilt and die.
Squash bug damage
Identification tip: Under heavy squash bug feeding, plants begin to wilt, and the point of attack becomes black and brittle (not shown here).
Healthy squash leaf (left) and silvering leaf caused by whitefly feeding.
Whitefly damage (silverleaf whitefly) Identification tip: Feeding frequently causes leaves to turn whitish or silver. It is important to distinguish silverleaf whiteflies from other species.

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Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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