Squash vine borer

Melittia cucurbitae

Squash vine borer (Melittia cucurbitae) is an insect pest. It was first detected in Missouri in 1984.

The squash vine borer is a diurnal species of sesiid moth that attacks wild and cultivated varieties of squash. The moth is often mistaken for a bee or wasp because of its movements, and the bright orange hindleg scales. The females typically lay their eggs at the base of leaf stalks, and the caterpillars develop and feed inside the stalk, eventually killing the leaf. They soon migrate to the main stem, and with enough feeding damage to the stem, the entire plant may die.