The western spotted cucumber beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata undecimpunctata Mannerheim, is an important pest of melons (Cucurmis melo L.) in northern California. Recent observations indicate that adults are using alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) as a feeding host and larvae may be developing on the roots. Greenhouse studies were conducted during the winters of 2009 and 2010 in which larval development was compared on the roots of six field and vegetable crops commonly grown in the southern Sacramento Valley. The growth parameters used to evaluate the hosts were larval and pupal head capsule width, body width, and body length as well as total survival percentage and survival percentage to the third instar. According to larval growth and survivorship in 2009, maize (Zea mays L.) was the best host, followed by alfalfa and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) that were roughly equivalent to one another. Melon was a slightly weaker host than alfalfa and tomato; sunflower (Helianthus annum L.) was a completely incompatible host and thus dropped from the 2010 study. In 2010, melon was the weakest host for larval development. Maize was the superior host again followed closely by alfalfa that performed slightly better than tomato and lima bean (Phaseolus lunatus L.). Data suggest that larval western spotted cucumber beetles may primarily develop outside of melon fields and the adults emigrate to melons.
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