University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

Mystery Bug Answers

Mystery Picture #29

Mystery Picture #29

(Mystery Pictures)(Mystery Pictures)


Striped Cucumber Beetles are yellow-green with three black stripes down their backs and are 1/4 inch long. They can cause serious losses in cucumbers, muskmelons, and watermelons in Kentucky. Although adults feed mainly on foliage, pollen and flowers, they can feed on melon rinds late in the season and may reduce market quality. They are a major concern to muskmelon and cucumber growers because they vector the bacteria that causes a disease, bacterial wilt of cucurbits. While larvae of these insects feed on roots and stems and can cause some damage, this is damage is minimal compared to the potential losses due to bacterial wilt.

To read more about the Striped Cucumber Beetle and some of its cousins, see EntFact 311 - Cucumber Beetles.


The dreaded Squash Vine Borer is a key pest of winter squash, gourds and pumpkins in Kentucky. Unfortunately, it is usually noticed only after it has done its damage. Symptoms appear in mid-summer when a long runner or an entire plant wilts suddenly. Infested vines usually die beyond the point of attack. The caterpillar reaches a length of 1 inch and has a brown head and a cream-colored body. Winter squash, particularly 'Hubbard', are most susceptible to damage while 'Butternut' is somewhat resistant.

The adult is a stout dark gray moth with 'hairy' red hind legs, opaque front wings, and clear hind wings with dark veins. Unlike most moths, they fly about the plants during the daytime, appearing more like a paper wasp than a moth.

EntFact 314 - Squash Vine Borer and Squash Bug - has information on how and when to treat for this sneaky pest.

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