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Insects and diseases of cucumber, pumpkin and squash

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This page contains non chemical ways to prevent or manage common insect and disease problems of cucumber, pumpkin and squash. These plants are in the family called cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae), which also includes melons.

For more detailed information follow the links below.

Powdery mildew

White powdery mildew on leaves of cucurbit plant
Powdery mildew
  • Choose plant varieties that are resistant or tolerant to powdery mildew.
  • More information on powdery mildew.

Virus

  • Choose plant varieties that are resistant or tolerant to virus.
  • Remove weeds in the field.
Virus symptoms on cucurbit leaves
Virus
White virus growth on squash fruit
Virus on squash fruit

Angular leaf spot and anthracnose

  • Choose plant varieties that are resistant to angular leaf spot and anthracnose.
  • Use drip irrigation to keep leaves dry. Don't work in plants when wet.
  • Remove and destroy or bury infected plants after harvest.
  • Don't plant cucumber, pumpkin, squash or melon in the same location for 2-3 years.
  • Don't save seed from infected plants.

More information on angular leaf spot.

More information on anthracnose.

Green leaf with brown spots and holes from angular leaf spot
Angular leaf spot
Anthracnose symptoms on cucurbit leaf
Anthracnose

Squash bug

  • Remove plant debris, like dead leaves and flowers, from the garden.
  • Remove and destroy squash bug eggs.
  • Remove or knock off squash bugs into a container of soapy water.
  • Trap squash bugs under boards and remove them in the morning.

More information on squash bugs.

Squash bug infestation on squash leaf
Squash bugs
Squash bug eggs on squash leaf
Squash bug eggs

Squash vine borer

  • Plant butternut squash, cucumbers, melons and watermelons as they are not normally attacked by squash vine borers.
  • Plant summer squash in early July.
  • Use a yellow pan or pail and fill it with water. Squash vine borers like the color yellow. They will fly to the container and be trapped when they fall into the water.
  • Use row covers when adult moths are first active (late June/early July). Leave for 2 weeks and then remove.
  • Remove and destroy plants killed by squash vine borers.

More information on squash vine borers.

Squash vine borer bug on squash leaf
Adult squash vine borer
Squash vine borer caterpillar causing damage to a squash vine
Squash vine borer caterpillar
Mesh row cover on squash crop to keep out insect pests
Mesh row cover

Michelle Grabowski, Extension educator and Jeff Hahn, Extension entomologist

Reviewed in 2018

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