Florida watermelon growers are urged by a UF/IFAS Extension agent to utilize preventative sprays to combat rindworm in watermelon.

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Regional Specialized Extension agent in Live Oak, Florida, Bob Hochmuth, advised that Florida watermelon growers should utilize preventative sprays to fight rindworm in watermelon, according to a Specialty Crop Industry article. Hochmuth shared tips on putting together a treatment program for combating rindworm. Explore the details below.

Combating Rindworm in Watermelon

Hochmuth said in the article, “For the rindworms, we’d also like to be on a preventative program for them. They’re also difficult because once they start feeding on the fruit and then crawl underneath the watermelon itself, they’re really difficult to control. We’re trying to get them controlled before they get down underneath the fruit.”

Steps for fighting rindworm in watermelon with an “economical program“ from the article included:

  • “Adding a Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) spray now and continue weekly until pest pressure gets high. Bt is effective in killing younger worms shortly after they hatch from feeding on the leaves. But it is not a good choice for larger worms discovered later in their life cycle.”
  • “Once pressure is high, farmers can switch to other products like Coragen or Intrepid.”

The watermelon harvest is on the brink of beginning, with an eye for having the summer-favorite fruit ready for the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start to the summer season.

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