xoxoplants
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Need help with a watermelon bug

I'm growing a few sugar baby watermelons on a trellis. They have been doing extremely well this season with a few fruits already. This morning when I went out to check on them, I found one of my melon, which was named Big Mama, on the ground :( . It was cut off the vine by some bug I'm assuming. I checked the plants but didn't see anything beside ants and aphids. It left behind this red sticky gel like liquid where the vine was cut off. Does anyone have an idea what bug can do this?

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Need help with a watermelon bug

I can't offhand think of an insect that could do that. I'm thinking it would more likely be a critter - raccoons, squirrels, etc. Although a critter that did that usually would have taken some bites out of the melon as well. It wasn't bitten into?
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applestar
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Re: Need help with a watermelon bug

If you are growing them on a trellis, make sure to put the fruits in slings/hammocks made of nylon netting produce bags or nylon stockings/tights as soon as they are baseball/orange to softball/grapefruit size. You need to secure the sling in such a way that the weight stress is taken off the vines and fruit stem, and the fruits have room to grow. You will likely need to adjust the sling as the fruit grows -- check weekly.

If anything tried to nibble the stem, I imagine the fruit could have fallen. Was the break clean? Jagged? Long strip of skin pulled off on one side? (You need to think like a detective and look for evidence :wink:)

The red sap is most likely natural sap of the vine. Here's a photo of a drop of sap welling out of a muskmelon vine where I pinched/cut off the end (...what can I say? I thought it looked kind of pretty :() )
image.jpg
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xoxoplants
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Re: Need help with a watermelon bug

Thanks for the quick replies. I don't think it was the doing of a critter because I'm not in a rural area. I took a look at the vine and it looked like it was pulled off or perhaps as something started to nibble at the vine, the weight of the melon pulled itself off the vine... I'm not sure what else to think at the moment but will continue to monitor the plant for other signs or bugs. Thanks for the tip on the melon hammock, I'll look into it.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Need help with a watermelon bug

Actually those of us in cities seem to have more trouble than the rural folks with critters. Maybe they have more room to spread out in the country, I don't know. But I am four miles from downtown on a big busy street, I have a bunch of squirrels, several raccoons that are very bold and come and party on our deck while we are asleep, a resident groundhog, occasional sightings of oppossums, bunnies, deer, not to mention mice, shrews, and other rodents. Everything in my garden has to be fenced from the raccoons and groundhog.

But yes, without a sling, the weight of the melon could pull it off the vine.
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