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  • Author or Editor: Ricky E. Foster x
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Bacterial wilt of cucurbits, incited by Erwinia tracheiphila (E. F. Smith) and vectored by the striped cucumber beetle [Acalymma vittatum (F.)] (SCB), is a serious disease of muskmelon (Cucumis melo L.). Cultivars differ in attractiveness to SCB and susceptibility to bacterial wilt, but no cultivar resistant to bacterial wilt has been introduced. In 2015 and 2016, replicated field plots of eight cultivars were grown at Lafayette, Wanatah, and Vincennes, IN, to identify differences in attractiveness to SCB and susceptibility to bacterial wilt. ‘Savor’ had significantly more beetle activity than ‘Hales Best’, ‘Superstar’, and ‘Aphrodite’ in three of six site-years, and more than ‘Diplomat’, ‘Dream Dew’, ‘Athena’, and ‘Wrangler’ in two site-years. Beetle activity for ‘Athena’, ‘Superstar’, and ‘Wrangler’ did not differ significantly from ‘Aphrodite’ for any site-year. Bacterial wilt severity was significantly greater for ‘Diplomat’ and ‘Dream Dew’ than for other cultivars in four site-years. ‘Superstar’ had the least disease in five site-years, but significantly less than ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Athena’, and ‘Hales Best’ in only one site-year. At one site, additional plots of each cultivar were populated with five SCBs per plant, and rowcovers were applied to keep the SCBs near the plants for 3 weeks. This resulted in similar beetle activity on all cultivars, but most disease in ‘Dream Dew’ and least in ‘Superstar’ and ‘Athena’. Marketable yield was generally highest for ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Superstar’, and ‘Athena’ when plants were exposed to natural beetle populations. Overall, ‘Savor’ and ‘Diplomat’ were the most attractive to beetles, and ‘Diplomat’ and ‘Dream Dew’ were the most susceptible to bacterial wilt. ‘Aphrodite’, ‘Athena’, and ‘Superstar’ were less attractive to beetles and showed more tolerance to bacterial wilt in both 2015 and 2016.

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