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The points of contact between Rutgers Cooperative Extension Service and the grower & business communities are the NJ County Agricultural Agents. The agents are a tremendous source of information for both new and experienced growers. Visit your local county extension office.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gnats in Pumpkin Flowers

Gnats on Pumpkin Flower
Photo by Michelle Infante-Casella
For the past 3 years, I have had growers complain about seeing gnats in pumpkin flowers this time of year. In each case, they do not seem to be causing any damage to the plants or healthy fruit. Rather, they are a nuisance in the field, especially for PYO pumpkin patches.

Most gnats are short lived. However, the major problem with gnats is they reproduce quickly, with eggs hatching 3-5 days after they are laid. They seem to congregate in open flowers and rotted fruit. Most likely they are feeding on the nectar inside flowers and are using the rotted fruit as a medium for laying eggs and as a food source for larvae. They should be killed by frost, however, pumpkin patches will also most likely be done when frost occurs.

 -Michelle Infante-Casella, Agricultural Agent