Bacteria spread to other vines and plant begins to wilt. Entire plant wilts and dies.

Bacteria spread to adjacent vessels through dissolved cell wall, clogging vessels of the plant and causing discoloration of the xylem vessels.


Beetles lay eggs near young plants and larva attack plant roots. Larvae pupate in soil and emerge as adults usually in August. Emerging adults become contaminated with bacteria upon feeding on infected plants.

Life Cycle of Bacterial Wilt
Caused by Erwinia tracheiphila
Originally produced as a poster by T.A.Zitter and M.M. Kennelly
Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, Ithaca NY

Bacteria continue to multiply, forming visible masses of ooze.
Bacteria enter xylem vessels of leaf veins and move down the peitole and vine.
Bacteria overwinter in the stripped and spotted cucumber beetles. Beetles usually appear when plants emerge in spring.
Bacteria multiply in sap at the margins of wounds.
Beetles feed on, and contaminate cucurbit plants with bacteria. Bacteria are deposited with the insect feces on leaf wounds.