squash vine borer

(Melittia cucurbitae)

squash vine borer
Photo by Alfredo Colon
  Hodges #

2536

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

Squash vine borer is a colorful, wasp mimicking, clearwing moth. It occurs in the eastern half of the United States, in southern Mexico, and in southern Ontario and Quebec, Canada. In Minnesota it is restricted to the southern half of the state. It is a serious agricultural pest of gourd (Family Cucurbitaceae) crops, especially zucchini and Hubbard-type squashes.

Adults are (17 mm) long and have a wingspan of 1 to 1¼ (28 to 32 mm). They are said to resemble a wasp but do not have a constricted waist and have very different antennae.

The pair of small, finger-like processes (labial palps) curving up from the lower part of the head are long, extending well beyond the middle of the face. The antennae are black with an irregular white streak above in the outer (distal) half.

The forewings are long, narrow, rounded at the tip, black, and fringed with olive-green. The hindwings are much broader and have a large area that is transparent, completely free of scales. The rear margin of the forewing and the front margin of the hindwing each have a row of interlocking spines.

The thorax is dark gray. The abdomen is mostly dull orange except for the first two segments, which are entirely dark olive green. There is a large, squarish, black dot at the front margin in the middle (middorsal) of segments 4, 5, 6 and 7.

The legs are mostly black with narrow white bands. The third segment (femur) of the front legs is orange on the upper side. On the middle and hind legs, the femur has a dense fringe of long orange hairs, and the fourth segment (tibia) has a dense fringe of long black hairs.

The larvae are white and have a brown head. They are rarely seen outside of the vine.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: (17 mm)

Wingspan: 1 to 1¼ (28 to 32 mm)

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
     
     
 
Habitat
 
 

 

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One generation per year. Mid-June to August

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are active during the day and rest at night.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The female deposits eggs singly on stems and leaves of host plants. The egg hatches in 10 to 15 days and the larva immediately bores into the vine. About four weeks later, the mature larva drops off the plant and burrows into the soil. The larva overwinters in the soil. It pupates in the spring and an adult emerges in mid-to late June.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Vines of plants in the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), especially zucchini and Hubbard-type squashes, but also acorn and butternut squashes, gourds, and pumpkin.

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 29, 30, 75, 82.

 
  10/21/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Apoditrysia  
 

Superfamily

Sesioidea  
 

Family

Sesiidae (clear-winged moths)  
 

Subfamily

Sesiinae  
 

Tribe

Melittiini  
 

Genus

Melittia  
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

squash vine borer (larva)

squash vine borer moth (adult)

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Femur

On insects and arachnids, the third, largest, most robust segment of the leg, coming immediately before the tibia. On humans, the thigh bone.

 

Palp

Short for pedipalp`. A segmented, finger-like process of an arthropod; one is attached to each maxilla and two are attached to the labium. They function as sense organs in spiders and insects, and as weapons in scorpions. Plural: palpi.

 

Tibia

The fourth segment of an insect leg, after the femur and before the tarsus (foot). The fifth segment of a spider leg or palp.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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Nanc

 
 

Found on my Zucchini plants.

 
    squash vine borer   squash vine borer  
           
    squash vine borer      
 

Alfredo Colon

 
    squash vine borer   squash vine borer  
           
    squash vine borer   squash vine borer  
           
    squash vine borer      
           
 

Strange Moth

 
    squash vine borer   squash vine borer  
           
    squash vine borer      
           
 

It is a beauty !

 
    squash vine borer   squash vine borer  
 

 

 
 

 

 
           
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  Squash Vine Borer Nectaring (Melittia cucurbitae)
Mona Miller
 
   
 
About

Jul 8, 2015

Hobbyists are welcome to learn more about creating habitat and rearing butterflies and moths, please join our conservation group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/butterflyandmothconservation/

 
  Squash Vine Borer Moth (Melittia cucurbitae)
ProjectHEALCreekRun
 
   
 
About

Jun 18, 2012

This is a squash vine borer moth visiting some milkweed in our garden. Its movement and color mimic a wasp or bee.

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
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  Nanc
7/8/2021

Location: Brooklyn Park, Mn

Found on my Zucchini plants.

squash vine borer  
  Alfredo Colon
8/15/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

squash vine borer  
  Alfredo Colon
8/14/2019

Location: Woodbury, Minnesota

squash vine borer  
           
 
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Created: 2/1/2020

Last Updated:

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