Scientific name: Diabrotica speciosa Germar
Native range: South America
The cucurbit beetle has a broad range of vegetable host crops. In Minnesota, corn, soybean and potatoes are the most common hosts that cucurbit beetle could impact. This insect also has potential to impact fresh-market vegetables due to its affinity for plants in the Cucurbitaceae family.
The cucurbit beetle is not known to occur in North America.
Adult beetles are considered moderately cold tolerant and overwinter in the rosettes and crowns of winter-growing plants, bordering vegetation, plant debris, woodlots and fence rows. Adult beetles are free-living and feed on flowers and leaves of host plants. This is the life stage most likely to be noticed.
Eggs are laid directly on the soil near a host plant. Young larvae feed through the root system and older larvae feed on the upper plant to just below the crown. The number of generations per year depends on climate and latitude. In some tropical areas they can reproduce year round.
Adult cucurbit beetles are about a quarter-inch long and are green to bluish-green with six yellow spots on the back. The head is reddish-brown to black and the body is generally oval in shape.
There are a number of common cucumber beetles in Minnesota such as the striped and spotted cucumber beetles (Acalymma vittatum and Diabrotica undecimpunctata howardii respectively) that could be mistaken for the cucurbit beetle.
Regulatory Status: Potentially Regulated
Federal and state regulations may be implemented if the cucurbit beetle is discovered in Minnesota. Actions in response to a discovery could include restricting movement of materials that potentially harbor cucurbit beetle as well as measures to suppress the growth of or eradicate any infestations.
What Can Be Done?
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture monitors for cucurbit beetles in our commodities survey. Contact the Minnesota Department of Agriculture via email at Arrest.the.Pest@state.mn.us if you suspect an infestation of cucurbit beetle.