what is boring into my cantaloupe?

melvee(7)July 25, 2012

argh! i just finishing doing research on a cucumber issue and think i have figured that out when i saw today that my cantaloupe have an issue, too. i see no caterpillars, beetles, etc. in the daytime and i have some melons suspended on the fence, but about 5 are so low that as they reach maturity they are basically sitting on the ground. i have a good layer of straw under everything. this is not the first year i have had this happen but still don't know what it is. a few of the fruit have small (maybe 2 mm) holes right thru the rind and what looks to be the digested rind close to the hole. that appears to be the only damage/blemish. some of the leaves are starting to not look that great, but i think that is a nutrient issue i am correcting. does anyone know what is making these holes, and is the fruit still okay to eat?

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Looks like it was a caterpillar of some sort. Likely gone now.

As for is it safe to eat? Yes, if it's ripe and not rotted. Cut it open and look.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2012 at 11:21AM
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here is more damage. this is on a much smaller fruit, but the damage is more extensive. this does not appear to go thru to the fleshy part of the fruit, but rather more superficial tunneling across the rind. not sure what is going on at the crown, but the fruit looks sunken. i will cut this one off now and check inside, but i don't expect to find anything. no evidence of any insect activity that i can see. i can't find anything like this online to reference. any help is appreciated.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 11:29PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Are you referring to the light-colored spot at the top (well, actually,) the bottom of the melon? If so, some chewing critter as rats, squirrels.

Or the dark colored streaks?

You could submit samples to your county's Extension Service office. (Then please let us know, too.)

Find your county's office with this list

Here is a link that might be useful: locate your county's Extension Service office

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 12:34AM
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actually, both. i clipped the melon and took it to my local garden center for info. their opinion was perhaps a squirrel, it appears the 'spot' you mention was a bite/chunk that was taken out and the dark streaks they suppose are where it was digging in with claws. this particular melon was on the upper most part of the trellis so i am fairly certain it was not a mouse, but squirrel does seem likely. either way, no other melons are affected as yet except for the first picture where i continue to have small 2 mm circles thru the rind. my guess is worm/cat of some sort, but i am hoping the melons will ripen and i can just cut away that portion and enjoy the rest!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 10:51AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

no hoodlum with a BB gun???

that was my thought with that perfect round hole ...


    Bookmark   July 31, 2012 at 5:04PM
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One bad thing about these forums is that you sometimes get an idiotic answer that is no help at all. In this case you got several, and I really don't know if they're joking or not. You do have a real problem, but nothing you can't solved. You have what are called pickle worms, which attacks vegetables such as squash and cucumbers and also in your case, cantaloupes. You need only to dust your plants with Sevin every 7 to 10 days to end your problem.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 10:47AM
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You're right. Sometimes I also get idiotic answers to my questions. But your answer isn't exactly the brightest either. Why in the hell would anybody want to use SEVIN on their veggies(or for that matter, on anything at all)???

It kills every insect in the garden -- leaving no defense for other maladies.

If, in fact, it is pickleworms, Why not BT or spinosad? Disclaimer: Spinosad harms bees -- so spray at dusk to reduce possible death.

I'm just an amateur though. Educate me please on why BT shouldn't work. It works on all my caterpillar problems.


    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 12:27PM
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There is no need to refer to any answer as idiotic and no way for a poster to weed the wheat from the chaff on the answers either, other than to know the reliability of the respondents. Like most things on the internet, unless information comes from an established source (like a university) take it as a possible clue and go from there. Now there are people on here like rhizo and Jean who nearly always hit the nail on the head, but you will notice that if they aren't sure, they'll inform you of that or lead you to someplace where you will find an answer. Yes, it looks like pickleworm damage, bt and spinosad will work, as does floating row covers, neem or using squash as a bait plant since pickleworm loves them best. Now that you know what it likely is, next year start scouting early for the tell-tale hole in the blossom buds so you can take action before fruit is damaged. They'll hit your blossoms first.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2013 at 1:34PM
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