Optimization of a Mass Trapping Method against the Striped Cucumber Beetle Acalymma vittatum in Organic Cucurbit Fields

Insects. 2022 May 17;13(5):465. doi: 10.3390/insects13050465.


The striped cucumber beetle (SCB) Acalymma vittatum (F.) (Coleptera: Chrysomelidae) is a prime problem in North American cucurbit crops. While certain chemical pesticides efficiently control SCB in conventional cucurbit fields, alternative solutions are required due to the ever-evolving regulations on pesticides. For organic producers, very few control methods exist. A novel mass trapping method demonstrates the potential of controlling SCBs using floral-based semiochemical baited traps in cucurbit crops. The goals of this study were to (1) determine whether baited traps capture more SCBs than unbaited ones, and (2) optimize the trapping method by comparing different trap types and different commercially available attractants to maximize SCB captures while minimizing non-target species captures. The results of a first experiment showed that baited traps captured significantly more SCBs than unbaited ones. Baited traps also captured significantly more bees and hoverflies than unbaited ones. In a second experiment these unwanted captures were drastically reduced by using traps with ten 4 mm in diameter holes per side. Finally, a third experiment demonstrated that the attractant 40CT313 was the most efficient at capturing SCB compared to other tested lures. Overall, the optimized mass trapping technique demonstrated a potential to effectively control SCB populations in organic cucurbit crops.

Keywords: attractants; flower volatiles; integrated pest management (IPM); organic crop production; plant semiochemicals.