Vegetable Pest Update

Posted: August 2, 2016

It’s the time of the growing season when vegetable garden pests are at their worst.
Cucumber Beetle

Cucumber Beetle

Here are some of the pests currently in gardens and some that we expect will be arriving soon.

The second generation of the cucumber beetle has emerged and is feeding on cucumber, squash, and pumpkin plants. The beetles carry a bacterial disease that causes the plants to wilt a few weeks after the beetles are feeding.

The squash bug eggs are now hatching and is a close relative to the stink bug. It is longer and narrower than the stink bug. The squash bug lays its eggs in groups of 10 to 15 on the underside of the leaf. The nymphs look like small spiders. They are slate gray in color with long black legs. They feed by sucking the sap from the plant. Watch the undersides of your squash and pumpkin leaves.

Damage from the brown marmorated stink bug has been a problem and will continue to get worse as the season progresses. Stinkbugs damage most vegetables but are more of a problem in peppers and tomatoes.

Potato leafhoppers are feeding on potato, bean, carrot, and new strawberry plants. The leafhopper is very small and is light green in color. The feeding results in cupped leaves that turn yellow, then brown on the tips.

There have been few disease problems so far this summer because of the dry weather. There are some cases of early blight in tomatoes. Early blight attacks the lower leaves first. It forms dime size stops that have concentric rings. The tissue around the spots often turns yellow. Septoria leafspot has been a problem for a few local gardeners. It resembles early blight but the spots are smaller, do not have rings, and the septoria spots have a light gray center.

Diseases that blow into our area from other parts of the country are arriving late this summer. One of those diseases is downy mildew. It infects cucumbers first, then squash and pumpkins. It has not been confirmed in Pennsylvania, yet. Late blight, which attacks tomatoes and potatoes, is also late in arriving. If the weather cools down and we start getting more rain you can expect these terrible diseases to be a problem. If you choose to use a fungicide to protect your plants from these diseases, remember that the fungicide must be applied before infection happens.

It is important that you continue to keep the weeds under control and plants watered. Keep the soil moist but not too wet. A stress free plant has the ability to better fight off pests.

For more information contact your local extension office. 

Contact Information

John Esslinger
  • Horticulture Extension
Phone: 570-316-6516