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Squash bug problems in watermelon in Florida (Dr. Sparks)

We have been getting reports of bad squash bug problems in Florida and suggest that growers keep their eyes open. North Florida has not experienced as bad of problems, so I wouldn’t anticipate severe problems but I would watch. They are having problems in watermelon and report it to be possibly worse in grafted melons. I have no idea why it would be worse in grated melons.

Watch for adults entering fields for about the next month. They tend to be clumped along field margins first and can spread from there. Frequently the first sign is dying plants or runners. This can look exactly like fusarium wilt. If squash bugs are involved, you should be able to find the insects. It does not take large populations to cause a problem, but if they are the problem, they should be easy to find.

I have conducted two bioassays with squash bugs in the last three years. In one (last year) bifenthrin at 6.4 oz per acre provided good control. In the other, the only good control was with bifenthrin plus Lannate. They have reported poor control in Florida with pyrethroids alone.