The bitter plant-derived compounds cucurbitacins are known to stimulate feeding of adult cucumber beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). A cucurbitacin-based gustatory stimulant applied as a flowable bait combined with either spinosad or carbaryl was compared with foliar sprays of spinosad and carbaryl for controlling two cucumber beetle species (Diabrotica undecimpunctata undecimpunctata Mannerheim and Acalymma trivittatum Mannerheim) in honeydew melons (Cucumis melo L.). Field studies were conducted on the University of California—Davis plant pathology farm in 2008 and 2009. Beetle densities after applications and fruit damage from beetle feeding were compared among treatments. In addition, beetle survival was compared within field cages placed over the treated foliage infested with beetles. Using all three measures of efficacy, we determined that the addition of cucurbitacin bait had no effect on the level of cucumber beetle control with carbaryl in either 2008 or 2009. In both years, spinosad did not significantly reduce cucumber beetle densities in either field cages or field plots and did not reduce fruit damage relative to the untreated control. The addition of the bait to spinosad did not improve its efficacy. A laboratory bioassay of the spinosad formulation used in the field showed it had significant lethal effects on adults of both cucumber beetle species. Results indicated that the bait formulation used did not improve cucumber beetle control but may benefit from the addition of floral attractants or using a different type of cucurbitacin.
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Vol. 104 • No. 4