Submitted to: American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: February 1, 2002
Publication Date: August 1, 2002
Citation: Bruton, B.D., Pair, S.D., Davis, A.R., Fletcher, J., Wayandande, A., Mitchell, F. 2002. Squash bug: Vector of cucurbit yellow vine disease pathogen [abstract]. American Society of Horticulture Science Meeting. 37:747.
Cucurbits, especially watermelon and cantaloupe, are important crops in the South Central region of the U.S. and are affected by a variety of insect and disease complexes. Prominent among these are the squash bug, Anasa tristis (DeGeer) and a destructive vine decline, cucurbit yellow vine disease (CYVD). The causal agent of CYVD has been identified as a strain of Serratia marcescens. The disease is especially severe in OK and TX, but has also been confirmed in AK, TN, and MA. Losses can range from less than 5% to 100% in affected fields of watermelon, squash, pumpkin, and cantaloupe. Earlier experiments suggested that the pathogen was insect transmitted. In 2000, healthy squash plants caged with feral squash bugs collected from diseased field plants developed symptoms consistent with CYVD. In addition, squash bugs collected in November, 2000 and April, 2001 from overwintering habitat near DeLeon, TX were caged individually on successive squash seedlings at 7d intervals. Of the insects tested (n = 76), 10.5 % of the overwintered squash bugs transmitted the bacterium to seedling squash as determined by phloem discoloration and PCR. Control plants not subjected to squash bugs remained healthy. Our data confirm the capability of squash bug to transmit the CYVD bacterium and serve as an overwintering host of the bacterium.