Home / Clearwing Moths (Sesiidae) / Squash Vine Borer Moth (Melittia cucurbitae)

Squash Vine Borer Moth (Melittia cucurbitae)

The squash vine borer moth is a member of the family of clearwing moths. They are often mistaken for wasps because of their movements.

Squash Vine Borer Moth


Scientific Classification

  • Family: Sesiidae
  • Genus: Melittia
  • Scientific Name: Melittia cucurbitae

Description and Identification


The caterpillars are white and have dark heads. They have three pairs of legs, five pairs of pro-legs, and are covered with bristles. Initially, they are 1.5-2 mm in length, but by the final instar, they reach 25mm.

Squash Vine Borer Moth Larvae



Pupae are mahogany brown, 14 mm long, and pupate inside a silk cocoon.

Squash Vine Borer Moth Pupa


Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present.

Adult males are smaller and more colorful than females.

Color and Appearance

The adults are 16 mm long, resemble a wasp, and have an abdomen covered with orange to reddish hairs and black dorsal dots.

Forewing: When open, scales can be seen on them, giving the wings a metallic green or black sheen. This remains even when the wings are closed.

Hindwing: When open, the wings can be seen lacking scales, making them look transparent. When closed, the wings are hidden completely.

Average wingspan: 25 to 38 mm

Flight pattern: Erratic and diurnal

Season: mid-May to late October

Melittia cucurbitae



They are dark-reddish brown and are flat but oval. Their dimensions are 1 mm in length and 0.85 mm in width.

Quick Facts

DistributionNorth America; including southeastern Canada, Florida, eastern U.S., and Mexico
Lifespan of AdultsFemales: 5 days; Males: 3 days
Host PlantsPrimarily summer squash and pumpkin; also, cantaloupe, cucumber, Mexican gourd, and watermelon
Adult DietNectar from flowers

Did You Know

  • American entomologist Thaddeus William Harris first described this species in 1828.
Squash Vine Borer Moth Images


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