Bacterial wilt resistant summer squash, cucumbers, and muskmelons

Hi all. What are some varieties that have worked, or shown strong resistance when others drop dead? Cucumber beetles are terrible here, and bring that plague with them every summer. I’m particularly interested in summer squash varieties.

One I grew that did well was Partenon. It survived all the way into fall when it succumbed to powdery mildew. I did spray it with spinosad to knock back the beetles, but some muskmelons nearby all succumbed before fruiting even with sprays. Some like bitter melon, fuzzy squash, luffa squash, and calabash don’t seem to be affected, but they aren’t my favorites. Those have never succumbed to wilt.


Wild amaranth will draw 100% of cucumber Beatles then you have to kill them before they denude your amaranth plant.


Will that grow in the North. Do you grow it from seed? Is it an annual? I’ve never heard of doing that before.

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@poncirusguy That’s a valuable piece of knowledge. I’ll be planting some.

@PharmerDrewee - I don’t have an answer to your question but will be watching this. I tried County Fair Improved cucumber last season, which was marketed as BW-resistant, and it succumbed to BW just like the others. I grew all my cucumbers on the deck in pots last year, in brand new soil. Maybe for that reason they lasted longer than usual and I was able to get a semi-decent crop.

Tromboncino squash is BW-resistant and I used it both as summer and winter squash.


I finally gave up C. melo. I tried neem/karanja, spinosad, pyrethrin, Surround----and various rotations/combinations thereof. I’d get the beetles knocked back pretty well, but my honeydews/muskmelons/canteloupes would always end up with bacterial wilt anyway; apparently, the species is so susceptible that only a bite or two is needed for a fatal infection. I’ve searched for resistant varieties, but they don’t seem to exist. (I’m glad watermelons aren’t susceptible—or I’d be really upset!)

Cucumbers in general don’t seem quite as suscpetible to wilt infection as melons. Spraying seems to help more with them, anyway. Infection rates also seem cyclical. Cukes have bad wilt problems here some years, and almost none other years. I’ve only tried one of the reputedly wilt-resistant cultivars, “Arkansas Little Leaf”; no wilt problems with it the two or three times I grew it, but downy mildew ate it alive in my location. “China Jade” reportedly has good general disease resistance, but I only grew it for the first time last year, so it’s too early to say much about it. It did get downy mildew, but seemed to tolerate it and produced in spite of infection; as for cuke beetles/wilt, I had little pressure from them last year, so no real test yet.

Best summer squash I’ve ever grown in terms of both taste and disease-resistance is “Lemon.” I’ve grown it several years with no wilt, no squash vine borers or other major issues. It’s very vigorous and needs a trellis.

@poncirusguy Thanks for the tip! I’d never heard of using amaranth as a cuke beetle trap either. Does it work for both striped and spotted beetles? I know that the latter are fairly cosmopolitan diners, but I’ve never noticed the former eating anything but cucurbits. Anyway, I’ll definitely give it a try!

As an aside: did anyone else here notice a drop in the cucumber beetle population last year? I saw only a few spotted and no striped ones this past season. I attributed it to my neem/karanja and spinosad program, which I continued very late into the previous season in order to reduce the overwintering population, but it could’ve just been some sort of cyclical thing. Whatever it was, I’m sure they’ll be back.

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It works for both stripped and spotted. Mine come up from seed on there own every year. I deal with squash bugs by getting my seedling started early and into the ground so the get big and produce before the squash bugs overwhelm them.


Thanks for the tips guys. I found this study here.
Some lineages of summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) are less attractive to the vectors of bacterial wilt, cucumber beetles. I bought seeds of Zephyr, Success PM, and Lemon to try. A lot of the varieties seem to be yellow. Too bad on the muskmelons. You’d think more breeding would focus on resistance, since it seems like a major problem --total death.

Amaranth attracts all sorts of pests. I have to spray mine with spinosad to get any sort of harvest. I’m not sure how impactful it is with cucumber beetles though. A lot still find my cucurbits despite always growing amaranth for greens.

Anyone else having experience with particularly hardy cultivars? I’d love to hear about “field” experience.

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