Photo by Melody

Clearwing Moth, Squash Vine Borer (Melittia cucurbitae)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Sesiidae
Genus: Melittia
Species: cucurbitae (ku-KUR-bi-tay) (Info)


No positives
1 neutral
5 negatives


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Little Rock, Arkansas
Wilmington, Delaware
Downers Grove, Illinois
Des Moines, Iowa
Millersville, Maryland
Jackson, Mississippi
Anderson, Missouri
Catawissa, Missouri
Springfield, Missouri
Ballston Lake, New York
Columbus, Ohio
Novelty, Ohio
Hummelstown, Pennsylvania
Greenwood, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Spring, Texas
Morgantown, West Virginia

By sallyg
Thumbnail #1 of Clearwing Moth, Squash Vine Borer (Melittia cucurbitae) by sallyg

By sallyg

Thumbnail #2 of Clearwing Moth, Squash Vine Borer (Melittia cucurbitae) by sallyg

By badmommablogger

Thumbnail #3 of Clearwing Moth, Squash Vine Borer (Melittia cucurbitae) by badmommablogger

By Bazuhi

Thumbnail #4 of Clearwing Moth, Squash Vine Borer (Melittia cucurbitae) by Bazuhi

Member Notes:

Neutral Magpye On Aug 28, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR
(Zone 6a) wrote:

Also known as .. a Squash Vine Borer.

Negative sallyg On Jul 12, 2009, sallyg from Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b) wrote:

An orange and black, waspy looking moth, note the long antennae with a curve at the end. I saw two around the base of my squash plants today and yesterday one feeding on the blossoms of catnip.

Negative GardenLady2 On Mar 28, 2011, GardenLady2 from Spring, TX wrote:

Have had problems in the past with this squash plant destroyer! What is a good organic solution for them on zucchini plants?

Negative Bazuhi On May 25, 2011, Bazuhi from Downers Grove, IL
(Zone 5a) wrote:

The moth.. as soon as the female hatches she starts laying her at a time on the main stem and I read everywhere even the leaf stems so your not safe protecting the bottom half of the plant. The female lays 250 to 500 eggs in her 6 weeks of life.. I know I will never find all the eggs!! You can spray Sevin but that will only kill the larva once it hatches and before it burrows into the vine so you have to be diligent to keep the spray fresh and always spray in the evening when the flowers close for the night so you do not infect the flowers with the Sevin product killing the bees. I also read if you put out pans painted bright yellow paint and add water that the moths are attracted to the yellow and will come to it and fall into the water.. This is a great way to see if the moth is active in your garden.. you will need to check it constantly.. Squash Vine Borer devestated my zucchini and spaghetti squash in 2010 but it did leave my butternut squash alone. This year after some research I am trying an experiment that includes recycling industrial lamp shades along with door/window screens. I took screen larger then the lamp shades and laid it out cutting a hole large enough for me to pull the seedling thru.. Then buried the screening. This way the moth can not come up and end up inside the dome with the plant, while peat pot will prevent it coming thru the hole I will also add sand to weight that opening part down.. Then the lamp shade will go on top of the plant with screening covering the top as well to prevent entry from the top. The domes are clear and with the opening will allow air and rain to enter. This will hopefully allow the squash to grow till the moths are done laying thier eggs on the plants which I understand is the first week of July(with research it may be the end of July). I have heard you can wait to plant you squash till after July 4th which will be safer and may work for Zuc's but the spaghetti takes to long and with our short growing season believe I will not get the crop I want. I may have to self pollinate if flowers appear and my only test will be how hot will it get under them domes... Wish me luck it could be a new venture for home gardeners and retro fit lighting industry with all these left over shades that will end up in our landfills..

Negative Shady13825 On Jun 20, 2011, Shady13825 from Novelty, OH wrote:

In 2008 and 09, this bug devastated our spaghetti and zucchini squashes. Last year, I put aluminum foil collars around each plant plus the cucumbers. I had no borers. Instead, the cucumber beetle got the cucumbers and just this year they are chomping away on the squash.

Negative mullet22 On Jun 1, 2012, mullet22 from Homosassa, FL
(Zone 9a) wrote:

We garden in containers here in zone 9a ish. Trying covers now for squash...such a shame to see ur beautiful baby squash be devastated by these worms.

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