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Integrated Pest Management in Watermelon. Camilla B. Yandoc. Watermelon Pests. Insects & Mites Weeds Diseases Nematodes. Common Insect Pests. Cutworms. Rindworms. Sweetpotato whitefly. Aphids. Aphids & Whiteflies. Downward curling & crumpling of leaves (aphids)

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Integrated Pest Management in Watermelon

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watermelon pests
Watermelon Pests
  • Insects & Mites
  • Weeds
  • Diseases
  • Nematodes
common insect pests

Common Insect Pests






aphids whiteflies
Aphids & Whiteflies
  • Downward curling & crumpling of leaves (aphids)
  • Honeydew excreted by both insects attracts sooty molds
  • Both are efficient vectors of plant viruses
cutworms rindworms
Cutworms & Rindworms
  • Cutworms: reduce young watermelon stands
  • May feed on leaves of young seedlings
  • Rindworms: general term for worms that feed on rind (fall armyworms, corn earworm, cutwroms and loopers
  • Foliage & stem damage
  • Eat away irregular patterns of the rind

Occasional Insect Pests

  • Cucumber beetle
  • Mites
  • Mole crickets
  • Wireworms
  • White-fringed beetle
  • Leafminers
  • Thrips
occasional insect pests
Occasional Insect Pests
  • Root maggots
  • Flea beetles & fleahoppers
  • Leafhoppers
  • Plant bugs
  • Grasshoppers
  • Melonworms & pickleworms
insect damage
Insect Damage
  • Foliar damage (holes)
  • Stem damage
  • Root damage (wilting, stunting & death of plant)
  • Fruit damage
  • Drying up of leaves (sucking insects)
  • Leaf spots, mottling or discoloration
insect mite management
Insect & Mite Management
  • Sampling
  • Establish ETL
  • Recognize & identify beneficials

Important Practices:

aphid control
Aphid Control


lady beetles, syphrid fly

larvae,lacewings & tiny wasps

cultural control

reflective plastic mulch

Stylet oil sprays (interferes

with virus transmission)

sweetpotato whitefly control
Sweetpotato Whitefly Control

Monitoring use of traps

Cultural control

planting location & sanitation

Weed control

control alternate hosts

Chemical control

alternate different classes of


cutworm rindworm control
Cutworm & Rindworm Control

Mechanical control (cutworm): thorough soil prep

Chemical control(cutworm): broadcast application of approved insecticides before planting

Chemical control(rindworm): spray before worms > 1/2 in length, spray all of exposed fruit

control of other insect pests
Control of Other Insect Pests

Chemical control

insecticide sprays for flea

beetles, leafminers, mites,

mole crickets,wireworms,


plant bugs,grasshoppers, melon

worms and pickleworms

control of other insect pests1
Control of Other Insect Pests

Cultural control

avoidance (white-fringed

beetles), plowing & deep

turning of crop litter before

planting (root maggots),

overhead irrigation (mites)

insect mite management1
Insect & Mite Management

Cultural Practices

  • Reflective mulch
  • Planting location/timing
  • Sanitation
  • Weed control
  • Overhead irrigation
  • Plowing & turning in crop debris
  • Reduce crop yield & quality
  • Poor disease control due to delayed accurate diagnosis & delayed implementation of control measures
  • Disease control consists of a sequence of properly timed control measures (cultural, mechanical & chemical)
root stem diseases


Fusarium wilt

Root & Stem Diseases
  • Gummy stem blight
  • Fusarium rot
root stem disease management
Root & Stem Disease Management

Gummy stem blightpostharvest plow-down of debris, crop rotation, fungicidal sprays, use fungicide treated seeds

Anthracnoseresistant varieties, fungicidal sprays, clean seeds,sanitation

Fusarium wiltresistant var.,healthy transplants,crop rotation, soil fumigation, delayed thinning

foliar diseases
Foliar Diseases



leaf spot

Downy mildew

other foliar diseases
Other Foliar Diseases
  • Alternaria leaf spot
  • Bacterial leaf spot
  • Watermelon mosaic
foliar disease management
Foliar Disease Management

Cercospora leaf spot sanitation (removal of crop debris, diseased vines & weed hosts), crop rotation, fungicide sprays

Downy mildewfungicide application, resistant var., avoid irrigation, reduce canopy density

foliar disease management1
Foliar Disease Management

Alternaria leaf spot

protectant fungicides

Bacterial leaf spot

avoid overhead irrigation,

sanitation, protective sprays

(copper sprays)

foliar disease management2
Foliar Disease Management

Watermelon mosaic

stylet oil application to

interfere with virus

transmission & insecticides to

control aphid (vector)population

fruit diseases
Fruit Diseases


Bacterial rind


Bacterial fruit blotch

other fruit diseases
Other Fruit Diseases
  • Bacterial leaf spot
  • Blossom-end rot
  • Speckle
  • Watermelon mosaic
fruit disease management
Fruit Disease Management

Bacterial fruit blotch

plowing infested soil,

elimination of inoculum

sources, field rotated out for

3 years or more, copper

sprays (Kocide DF Kocide 2000),

use of high quality transplants

fruit disease management1
Fruit Disease Management


resistant varieties,

fungicides, use clean seeds

Bacterial rind necrosis

use less susceptible cultivars

fruit disease management2
Fruit Disease Management

Blossom end-rot

soil testing & liming,

irrigation during fruit

development (preventive),

foliar Calcium application


disease management
Disease Management

Cultural Practices

  • Sanitation
  • Healthy transplants
  • Resistant varieties
  • Crop rotation
  • Weed/Insect vector control
  • Liming & irrigation
disease management1
Disease Management

Chemical Control

  • Fungicide sprays
  • Soil fumigation
  • Fungicide seed treatment
  • Compete with the crop for nutrients, sunlight, water and space
  • Serve as alternate hosts of nematodes, viruses and insect pests
weed management
Weed Management

Cultural, Mechanical & Chemical Control

  • Polyethylene mulch
  • Cultivation
  • Soil fumigant
  • Hoeing & disking
  • Herbicides
economically important nematodes
Economically Important Nematodes
  • Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.)
  • Sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus)
  • Reniform nematode (Rotylenchus sp.)
nematode damage
Nematode Damage
  • Root galls interfere with normal water & nutrient uptake
  • Reduced size of root system limits availability of water & nutrients
  • Aboveground damage: stunting, wilting & chlorosis
  • Roots attacked by nematodes are predisposed to secondary invasion by root rotting plant pathogens
nematode management
Nematode Management

Cultural Practices

  • Planting location
  • Resistant varieties
  • Crop rotation
  • Land preparation
  • Use of clean & healthy transplants
nematode management1
Nematode Management

Chemical Control

  • Fumigants
  • Non-fumigants
  • Chemigation
a grower s pest management tactics
A Grower’s Pest Management Tactics:
  • Insect control: chemical insecticides
  • Weed control: mechanical control (cultivation)
  • Disease control: resistant varieties & chemical fungicides, removal & destruction of diseased seedlings
what growers do in the field
What Growers Do in the Field…
  • Scout for presence of insects and diseases (major pest problem)
  • Watch the weather and spray accordingly (follow recommendations)
  • Some spray protective fungicides even when weather is dry (for insurance)
what growers do in the field1
What Growers Do in the Field..
  • May spray 1 or 2x a season for aphid control, some never spray because insect problem is minor
  • Follow recommendations for tillage & crop rotation
  • Plant in soils without RKN problems
what growers do in the field2
What Growers do in the Field
  • Fusarium Wilt control: crop rotation, use of resistant varieties, scouting for diseased transplants and removal of infected transplants
  • Gummy stem blight & Downy mildew control: fungicide sprays based on weather(likelihood of disease occurrence) or presence of spots
  • Zitter, A.T., D.L. Hopkins, and C.E. Thomas (eds.). 1996. Compendium of Cucurbits Diseases. APS Press.
  • Maynard, D. N. (ed.). 1992. Watermelon Production Guide for Florida. Florida Cooperative Extension Service & IFAS
  • Mr. Melvin Poole (Gainesville watermelon grower)
  • Mr. Gerry Brinen (County Extension Office)