What information can you give me on monitoring the emergence of squash vine borer?
S.G.GeorgiaAnswer: Thank you for your recent request for information from ATTRA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service regarding monitoring the emergence of squash vine borer. It sounds liked you have tried many strategies for managing squash vine borer on your farm. You may be aware of the squash vine borer life cycle, but it is helpful to know the life cycle for determining a monitoring and pest management strategy. In your climate, they often have two full life cycles a year and overwinter as fully grown larvae or pupae in cocoons in the soil 2.5 to 7.5 cm (1 to 3 inches) deep. The adult moths emerge in May. Throughout May and June, single eggs are laid on stems and leaf petioles. Eggs hatch in seven to nine days. The larvae bore into the stems and feed for four to six weeks before leaving their burrows and tunneling into the soil, where they spin cocoons. The new moths emerge two to three weeks later, giving rise to a second generation of larvae during August (Hale (no date). Because they overwinter in the soil, it is critical to rotate your Cucurbit crops in addition to the exclusion method your are practicing.The information that I read on exclusion of the borer suggests covering directly after planting and securing fully. Pull the cover off just before flowering to aid in pollination. Pheromone-baited sticky traps can be used soon after planting to monitor the activity of the adult moths. Start inspecting plants closely for squash vine borer eggs as soon as moths are caught in the traps. An excerpt from an USDA Agricultural Research Service research summary describes their trapping system of this insect:”Interpretive Summary: Populations of this pest were monitored using pheromone baited traps in South Carolina from 1997-2004. Male moths were first captured in mid-May and they remained active for the next 4-5 months (mid-October). There are two widely overlapping generations of squash vine borers per year in South Carolina. Nine types of pheromone baited traps were evaluated, and a commercially available small wire-mesh trap was the most effective for capturing male squash vine borer moths. A larger wire-mesh trap and a commercially available collapsible nylon trap were the second and third most effective traps. A yellow and white universal moth trap also caught a significant number of moths. A Multipher 3 trap, Pherocon 1C sticky trap, Japanese beetle trap, and boll weevil trap were not effective for capturing male squash vine borer moths. Wire-cone traps are a marked improvement over sticky traps, which are commonly recommended for monitoring this pest.” (Jackson, D. , 2005)The wire mesh trap that they describe is available through Gemplers. Below under “Further Resources” I have included contact information for Gemplers as well as the product ID number for this wire mesh pheromone trap. To view more of the specific traps referenced in the above summary see the link to this publication below under “references.” References: Hale, Frank. No date. Squash Vine Borer. University of Tennessee Extension Service. Publication # SP503-AJackson, D.M., Canhilal, R., Carner, G.R. 2005. Trap monitoring squash vine borers in cucurbits. Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology. 22:27-39. http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/publications/publications.htm?seq_no_115=174130Further Resources:GemplersProduct Item No: R08301Info Sheet Item No: IS1061-800-382-8473http://www.gemplers.com/docs/IS/106.pdf