Search for Excellence in Crop Production

George W Hamilton
Extension Field Specialist, Food & Agriculture
UNH Cooperative Extension

Hamilton, G.W.1, , Kunhardt, L.2,
1 Extension Field Specialist, Food & Agriculture, UNH Cooperative Extension, Goffstown, NH, 03045
2 Extension IPM Scout, Food & Agriculture, UNH Cooperative Extension, Goffstown, NH, 03055

Pumpkin, winter squash and summer squash comprise nearly 20% of the vegetable acreage dedicated to fresh vegetable production in New Hampshire. Squash vine borer [Melittia cucurbitae (Harris)] is a day-flying orange and black moth. The destructive stage is the larva (caterpillar), and it attacks most types of squash and pumpkin. Damage can be severe, and growers can be surprised and confuse by the damage. The Squash Vine Borer (SVB) Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program was initiated to address the concerns of both farmers, and giant pumpkin growers and gardeners, regarding pesticide use on pumpkin, winter squash and summer squash. The program has introduced pest monitoring strategies and economic action thresholds for the SVB insect pest in New Hampshire.  It utilizes applied research in cooperation with local farmers, and giant pumpkin growers and gardeners to evaluate the need of spraying to manage this pest, and timing of needed sprays.  An average of 24 farms with an average 297 acres participated in the IPM program over three years. Growers using the IPM program sprayed 2.64 fewer sprays on average from 2018 to 2020 than they did prior to the current IPM program, yielding an average savings of $11,715 for pesticides and $19,526 for labor and equipment costs. An average of 22 Giant Pumpkin Growers/Gardeners participated in the SVB IPM program where they reported an average of 19% plant die-back compared to 75% die-back prior to the SVB – IPM program. At the end of each season, all growers completed an end of year summary for the IPM program where they stated that they were confident in the spray recommendations based on the IPM trapping program.