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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
GoDawgs
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Default Pickleworm

The pickleworm has returned in the cukes and summer squash. Last year was the first time ever dealing with it so I had to research it. A moth lays eggs in pollinated blossoms of cukes and squash and so the worm bores into the fruit to munch. Apparently it comes up from south Florida or thereabouts and heads up the east coast around mid June to mid July. Well, it's here now.
I first noticed damage on three of seven cukes picked a couple days ago and now I've found one or two damaged summer squash. Their bed is right next to the cuke bed.

Here's the damage on a zucchini, first the outward evidence and then the interior damage:





The moth does it's thing after sundown so covering cukes and squash at dusk and then uncovering during the day is the prescribed treatment along with spraying the day's wilting blossoms with bT in the evening after the pollinators have gone home.

To deal with Miss Pickleworm Moth I might dispense with using hoops on the cuke and squash beds and just lay row cover directly over the plants early in the evening and uncover them in the morning.

It's always something, isn't it?
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
AlittleSalt
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Of course I had to read about pickleworms. One site suggests they may also be in south Texas. I have never seen one, but I'm in North Central Texas. That site also says their life cycle is around 30 days and in Georgia there can be 4 generations in one year.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Of course I had to read about pickleworms. One site suggests they may also be in south Texas. I have never seen one, but I'm in North Central Texas. That site also says their life cycle is around 30 days and in Georgia there can be 4 generations in one year.
Yeah... lucky us!
Since last year was the first time they were here, I assume they've moved inland enough to mess with my stuff.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
b54red
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They started here a few days ago also. I don't know that I have ever had a year of gardening without them. Some years they are much worse and start much sooner than they have this year. Keeping my fingers crossed that I won't have to spray to control them because the damage so far has been minimal.

Bill
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
PlainJane
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The bane of my cucumber life. I’m ready to start new plants and try covering them. Earlier I was just too busy with tomatoes to get to it.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
brownrexx
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Thankfully we don't have them in PA.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #7
Lee
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Thanks for the warning... Will have to be on the lookout in the next couple of weeks.


I wonder how "secure" the covering has to be to prevent the moths from getting in... Just a basic covering with minimal ground level gaps, or an all out, full-fledged, nothing but water getting in covering....
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Old 1 Week Ago   #8
brownrexx
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I don't know how big pickleworm moths are but I exclude cabbage butterflies and moths using a mesh fabric that is used to make veils and in other craft items.

Notice that the cabbage leaves have no holes or worms. I have never had the moths crawl under the fabric. However cabbage does not have flowers that need to be pollinated and cucumbers and squash do so it's a different ballgame.

DSC00392 by Brownrexx, on Flickr
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Old 1 Week Ago   #9
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Originally Posted by brownrexx View Post
I don't know how big pickleworm moths are but I exclude cabbage butterflies and moths using a mesh fabric that is used to make veils and in other craft items.

Notice that the cabbage leaves have no holes or worms. I have never had the moths crawl under the fabric. However cabbage does not have flowers that need to be pollinated and cucumbers and squash do so it's a different ballgame.

DSC00392 by Brownrexx, on Flickr
That's a handy set up there. I'm thinking the next time I venture out of the country to the city I might stop by JoAnn's Fabrics just to see what they have and what it costs. Did you get your material at a fabric store or at a craft place like Michael's?

Since I need to let pollinators have access to the cukes etc I think I'll just go with the lightweight row cover and lay it directly over the plants for the night. Then I'll lay some wood poles down the length of the bed along the edge of the cloth to make sure no moth can sneak in.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #10
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I didn't do cucumbers this spring either b/c the tomatoes were too time consuming. But in the past I just put tulle (bridal veil material) over the entire plant; I attach with clothespins right before dark and took it off in the AM. The entire plant needs to be covered.

When my plants got large, and some of my tulle got holes in it, I would layer it. The moths sometimes got through one layer of tulle but then were stuck for me to smash the next morning (I loved that part). They are determined.

I didn't spray and only lost 3 cucumbers (out of 330) to worms.

It is so cool taking it off in the AM, b/c bees are waiting to get to the flowers.

The moth itself is pretty small.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #11
ginger2778
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barb_FL View Post
I didn't do cucumbers this spring either b/c the tomatoes were too time consuming. But in the past I just put tulle (bridal veil material) over the entire plant; I attach with clothespins right before dark and took it off in the AM. The entire plant needs to be covered.

When my plants got large, and some of my tulle got holes in it, I would layer it. The moths sometimes got through one layer of tulle but then were stuck for me to smash the next morning (I loved that part). They are determined.

I didn't spray and only lost 3 cucumbers (out of 330) to worms.

It is so cool taking it off in the AM, b/c bees are waiting to get to the flowers.

The moth itself is pretty small.
Barb - I'm so grateful for several if your gardening tips and tricks. The tulle trick is one of the best. I do exactly what you do, tulle around them at night, off firdt thing am. Secured with clothespins, careful to block the underneath area as well.
GoDawgs- I get the Tulle at JoAnns, they have every color you can imagine, around a dollar/yard.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #12
brownrexx
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I buy my mesh fabric at JoAnn's. The openings are slightly larger than tulle which is the smallest mesh.

It is not too pricey and I like it better than the floating row cover for my application since it allows more light and water to penetrate the cover. I do not remove my covers all season since no pollination is needed for cabbage, bok choy or cauliflowers.

If my fabric gets a small tear in it I have used surgical tape to repair it and it seems to work well.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #13
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Y'all are a font of information, innovation and inspiration! Thank you for the great ideas.
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Old 6 Days Ago   #14
b54red
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They got a lot worse in the last few days so I sprayed my cucumbers and squash with a Permethrin spray. I hope it will work and I won't have to resort to Sevin. I'll give it a few days and see. Not even considering covering mine as they are on a 7 or 8 ft tall fence and in two locations.

Bill
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Old 6 Days Ago   #15
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I'm going to spray the blossoms with bT tonight after the pollinators have gone home and before I cover the plants. It seems the newly hatched tiny caterpillars hang out in the pollinated blooms and then mess with the growing fruit.

The three I found inside an infested cuke were a lot smaller than I expected for the amount of damage inside. Maybe 1/2" long, very thin and kind of stripey.

Well, I just found a great key from Texan A&M on identifying veg caterpillars and down below the key part are good photos. See page 10 for a pic of the pickle worm. It's bands of dots, not stripes!

https://lubbock.tamu.edu/files/2011/...etab_B6110.pdf
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