Cucumber Beetle on gourd
Just like any other plant, gourds have a few pests that can hinder their
growth. Different areas of the country will have different pests, but, due to
limited server space, I'm not going to go into every insect pest that may
attack gourd plants. There are however, a few major ones I'll try to discuss
and what can be done about them.
The Cucumber Beetle is one of the insect pests that you're very
likely to encounter. The adult beetle is about 1/4" long and has yellow
stripes lengthwise its wing cases. Yes, it flies. There is also a spotted
version. The adult beetle will eat the leaves, and unless you have a major
infestation, they usually won't do too much damage. However, the larvae of
this insect will bore into the stems and roots of the plants and can stunt the
growth of a plant, if not kill it.
The Squash Bug is another pest that you might encounter. This bug
is about 1/2" long, gray in color and looks rather flat. The nymphs probably
do more damage than the adults. They suck the sap from the leaves and young
Another problem you will probably encounter is the Vine Borer. If
your plants mysteriously start to wilt, then look at the base of the plant. If
you find white grubs, then you have vine borers. These pests will bore into
the main stem of the plant and eat a rather large portion of the stem away.
After removing the pest, one thing you can do to repair the damage is to mound
the earth around the base of the plant.
There are many things that can be done to remedy the situations
described above, I'm only going to give solutions to a few of those here. If
you have other problems, check with your local Agricultural Extension Office.
And remember one thing when using insecticides. Over-use could result in the
destruction of beneficial insects such as Honeybees and Ladybugs, so please,
use some common sense and use any insecticide with care. Read and follow all
Sevin dust seems to be the one cure-all here.
Just be careful and use only enough to fix the problem at hand. If you kill
your pollinators, you won't have any gourds. You don't need sevin dust on the
leaves and blooms if you're trying to kill vine borers.
If you notice parts of your plants that have a mold on them, cut the
affected parts from your vines and burn them. You want to remove the affected
parts as quickly as possible before more of the plant becomes infected. Rather
than buy more chemicals and fungicides, burning is the most effective way to
deal with this problem on a small scale.