Bacterial wilt

Bacterial wilt

Figure 18.
Bacterial wilt causes vine collapse of melons.

Photo credit: D. Egel


Bacterial wilt (Erwinia tracheiphila) is a serious disease of melons. Watermelons are resistant to this disease. Bacterial wilt is transmitted by spotted and striped cucumber beetles that feed on melon foliage. Infected plants exhibit leaf wilting followed by vine collapse (Figure 18). Plants are most often infected at early stages of growth.


Control of bacterial wilt in a high tunnel begins with control of cucumber beetles. Scout regularly for cucumber beetles. Use a systemic insecticide that provides 36 days of cucumber beetle control. Row covers will protect the plants from early-season feeding by cucumber beetles. There are currently no melon cultivars resistant to bacterial wilt.