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Cucumber Bacterial Wilt

Erwinia tracheiphila

Cucumber Bacterial Wilt, Squash Bacterial Wilt, Bacterial Wilt

A close up of a plant with bacterial wilt muskmelon
Cucumber Bacterial Wilt is a disease that affects plants in the Cucurbit family. Two bacteria cause the disease, Erwinia tracheiphila and Curtobacterium flaccumfaciens pv. flaccumfaciens. Bacterial Wilt is deadly. It causes the leaves to wilt and prematurely fall from the plant. Symptoms usually first appear in the leaves, eventually spreading to the main vascular tissues, killing the plant. The disease is spread by the Striped and Spotted Cucumber Beetles, which harbour bacteria in the mouthparts and gut. Not every Cucumber Beetle will be carriers of the disease. However, because there are currently no treatments available, the best way to prevent the disease is to control the local beetle population.
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Identification

Wilting of individual leaves can cause the whole plant to shrivel and die. Leaves that wilt in the day and recover at night. When the wilting vine is cut, a sticky white liquid exudes from the site when touched.

Symptoms

Leaves first turn dull green
Leaves turn yellow, then brown and dry
Cucumbers and melons die quickly after infection occurs
Pumpkins can take up to two weeks to die
Summer squash can persist up to several weeks before fully wilting

Biological treatment

There are no biological treatments for this disease

Chemical treatment

There are no chemical treatments for this disease.

Lifecycle

The bacteria use the Stripped and Spotted Cucumber Beetles as vectors to disperse and find new plants to infect.

Prevention

Growing resistant cultivars can help prevent the disease. Good management of the beetles that transmit the disease is also a good way of preventing infection. Grow plants under floating row covers or cover with a protective mesh. Traps baited with pheromone lures can be purchased online.

Affected plants

Winter Squash

Cucurbita spp.

A cucumber resting on soil surrounded by green leaves and stems

Cucumber

Cucumis sativus

Melon

Cucumis melo

A pile of orange Cucurbita Pumpkins

Pumpkin

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Gourd

Langenaria spp.

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