*WINNER* Greenhouse bioassay of squash bug preference within Cucurbita pepo


  • Chelsea Sanders


One of the most devastating insect pests of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) is the Squash bug (SB), Anasa tristis De Geer (Hemiptera: Coreidae), a cucurbit specialist. SB can cause severe losses of up to 50% yields in conventional and organic systems. SB preference studies in C. pepo have been performed, although they tested a limited number of cultivars and had unreliable results. The goal of this study was to evaluate a panel of C. pepo cultivars for SB ovipositional preference in small cage assays. A sixteen cultivar panel including two from each of the four of C. pepo market classes in both subsp. pepo and texana was evaluated. Oviposition and insect incidence data was recorded daily for three to five days. Analysis of total egg numbers at 24 hours revealed an ovipositional preference for subsp. texana over subsp. pepo. The most preferred cultivar was Sweet REBA in the Acorn squash market class (subsp. Texana). Several cultivars in both subspecies experienced no oviposition indicating that they were not preferred. The data clearly demonstrated that SB ovipositional preference exists within C. pepo.