My pumpkins’s new friends

Ladies and Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to my newest ‘friend’:

Public this is pickleworm – Pickleworm, this is public

According to the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center (HGIC), this pest, a member of the Lepidoptera family, immigrates from the south to Maryland every summer to lay eggs on your favorite cucurbit cultivars: cucumber and summer squash. They also like, to different tastes, watermelon, muskmelon, cantaloupe, winter squash, pumpkin, and gourd. No cultivar is resistant but the damage will vary dependent on the variety. Also, the damage is not limited to the fruit but to the flowers and vines as well.

Fun fact: at this year’s Alaska state fair, a 1700lb Cucurbita maxima – a variety of giant pumpkin – was disqualified because of a tiny hole on the bottom of the pumpkin. 🙁

In our garden, pickleworms attacked the pumpkins, but not the squash, zucchini, cantaloupe or watermelons. We suspect the pickleworms destroyed the female pumpkin flowers.

As opposed to the cucumber and summer squash, where if you find a hole you must discard the fruit, a pumpkin – according to the HGIC – can be saved if the fruit has not rotted.

Let the fun begin!

At first look, these pumpkins look good except for some 1/8” holes.

But not all holes lead to a tunnel.

But sometimes, yes. Ewww!

and look who’s here! A squash vine borer ! Re-Ewww!

Once a pumpkin is cut open, you can see where the damage is.

But then once cleaned, it looks like nothing happened.

One last question rests on suspense: What to do with the pumpkins?
Answer: Pumpkin bread!

(Thanks to my wife, Donna, for making such a lovely loaf, or two, or four…)

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