Controlling Bacterial Wilt in Muskmelon with Perimeter Trap Cropping
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Perimeter trap cropping (PTC) involves planting one or more rows of a cucurbit crop that is highly attractive to cucumber beetles around the border of a main cucurbit cash crop that is less attractive to the beetles. Cucumber beetles attempting to migrate into the field are concentrated in the relatively more attractive border crop, where they can be controlled by insecticides.
In New England, perimeter trap cropping using Blue Hubbard squash as the border crop around pumpkin, cucumber, or butternut squash controlled cucumber beetle/bacterial wilt with as few as one border spray of insecticide. This strategy reduced insecticide use on the main crop by up to 94 percent, nearly eliminating sprays on the main cash crop. In on-farm trials, 8 of 10 Massachusetts growers found that using perimeter trap cropping saved them money. The same tactic also effectively managed cucumber beetles on muskmelon and squash in Oklahoma.