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Common names: Pickleworm

Scientific name: Diaphania nitidalis

Region: This pest can be found in southeastern United States and sometimes north to New York and west to Nebraska.

Life cycle: It produces one to four generations each year.  It hibernates as a pupa within a rolled up leaf, and the adult moth emerges in late spring.

Physical description: The 3/4 inch Caterpillar is yellowish white with dark marks when young, turning greenish with a brown head as it ages.  The adult moth is a slender, yellowish white to tan insect with long hairy scales on the tip of its abdomen.

This moth has a wingspan of 1 1/4 inches.  The very small white eggs are laid on buds, leaves, stalks and fruits, in small amounts or singly.

Feeding characteristics: This borer will attack the cucumber, melon, pumpkin and squash plants by entering the developing buds and fruits.  One worm may attack several buds or fruits.

Controls: Open the infested stem by making a slit and remove the borer.  If the stem is not too far damaged, heap soil over the damaged area to encourage rooting.

Return from Pickleworm to Insects M-P Encyclopedia of Garden Insects

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