Several growers have complained that their second set of tomatoes is catfaced or are deformed and ripening poorly. Their first set of tomatoes looked good, but the second set is having problems in scattered areas throughout the field.
Striped cucumber beetles (Acalymma vittatum) (SCB) are the most important insect pests of muskmelon and cucumbers in our area. They overwinter as adults and emerge when temperatures reach 54–62°F at which time they begin searching for cucurbit hosts. Volatiles produced by the plant attracts SCB to cucurbits initially, then male SCBs produce an aggregation pheromone attracting more beetles. The beetles tend to mass on small plants where they eat, mate and defecate (fig 1).
There have been problems in our vegetable fields with three pests, which include striped cucumber beetles, leafhoppers and twospotted spider mites. I think most of the problems we are having with these three comes from
our mild winter as each has had an outbreak population after a mild winter sometime in the last 12 years.