The striped cucumber beetle [Acalymma vittatum (F.)] is a specialist pest of cucurbits throughout its range in the United States and Canada. Improved integrated pest management options are needed across the pest's range, especially on organic farms where there are few effective controls. Trap cropping in cucurbits is an option, but there are significant challenges to the technique. Because cucurbit flowers are highly attractive to the beetles, four field experiments tested whether cultivar and phenology interact to preferentially aggregate beetles. The first experiment tested the hypothesis that cucurbit flowers were more attractive to striped cucumber beetles than was foliage. The second experiment tested whether there were differences in beetle aggregation between two relatively attractive cultivars. The third and fourth experiments were factorial designs with two plant cultivars and two levels of flowering to specifically test for an interaction of cultivar and flowering. Results indicated that flowers were more attractive than foliage, beetle aggregation was affected by plant cultivar, and that there was an interaction of cultivar with flowering.We conclude that a single cultivar may be sufficient to serve as a generic trap crop to protect a wide variety of cucurbits.
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Vol. 44 • No. 2