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Indagine su Raphidopalpa foveicollis (Lucas) nella coltura del melone biologico della Sicilia occidentale.


Investigations on Raphidopalpa foveicollis (Lucas) in an organic cultivation of winter melon in western Sicily Red pumpkin beetle (Raphidopalpa foveicollis), is a Chrysomelidae beetle that lives on various species of cucurbits with greater preference for Cucumis sp. Both larval and adult stages are injurious to the crops. The former feeds on roots and stems of the plants, while the latter feeds on foliage, petals and fruits. In Sicily, this insect has occurred in the past as a secondary pest on the winter melon, but sometimes it reaches levels of infestation to arouse considerable concern among farmers. In order to implement economic methods of pest control a study on organic cultivation of winter melon was conducted in Camporeale (500 meters a.s.l.) (Palermo). Particularly, the dynamics of population and infestation levels have been investigated, taking into account also the possible influence of mulching, using chromotropic traps. Such traps consisted of yellow adhesive plates placed horizontally in mulched rows, on the plastic film, and between the rows, on the ground. In addition, surveys were carried out by comparing mulched plots and not mulched ones. Results showed that the peak catches (47.4 adults / trap) occurred in mid-June and the greater number of catches was found in the traps placed between the rows, with significant difference. A greater number of individuals has been detected on plants of the not mulched plots than that of the mulched plots, even though no statistically significant difference was found. The percentage of plants with damaged leaves ranged from 68.7% to 100% on mulched plots and 93.3% to 100% on not mulched plots with no significant differences. The presence of adults has also been observed on fruits but without signs of trophic activity. In addition, young stages were not detected in the plants examined. In conclusion, the combined effect of mulching, at least until the vegetation does not cover the plastic film, and sticky traps, placed mostly between the rows, plays a synergistic action to the pest control. Considering the low cost of such technique, it may be a potential tool for managing this pest using mass trapping method.