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Extension Education

Michael Rethwisch
Farm Advisor - Crop Production and Entomology
University of California Cooperative Extension


    During the spring 2020 melon season, a ‘new’ caterpillar pest was discovered tunneling in the outer rind of cantaloupes from multiple fields in the Palo Verde Valley of far eastern California. Entomologists in the low desert with 30+ years of melon experience did not recognize the pest.  Adults reared from caterpillars were determined to be omnivorous leafroller (Platynota sultana), a pest of Arizona melons in the 1930s-1950s. Low pest pressures during the 2020 spring production season resulted in fewer insecticide applications targeting lepidopterous pests, thought a factor in establishment in local cantaloupes.  Data on tunneling was collected, as such information was not readily available.  Tunneling damage was noted in a small percentage of cantaloupe rinds at harvest, but omnivorous leafroller caterpillars were no longer in rinds at harvest during 2020. This was a major concern due to export markets to other counties.  This poster was developed to provide information on this ‘new’ pest, and has been made available via multiple sources (newsletters, internet) and shared with others involved with pest management throughout California and Arizona.   

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

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Authors: M. D. Rethwisch, M. Ramirez-Bush, B. Sutterfield
  1. Rethwisch, M. Farm Advisor - Crop Production and Entomology, University of California Cooperative Extension, California, 92225
  2. Ramirez-Bush, M. Pest Control Advisor, Compton Ag Services, California, 92225
  3. Sutterfield, B. Pest Control Advisor, Wilbur-Ellis Company, Arizona, 85334