There are two types of pumpkin beetles: the banded pumpkin beetle Aulacophora hilaris and the plain pumpkin beetle Aulacophora abdominalis. Both species attack all commercial cucurbit crops. They are strong fliers, very active in hot weather and take flight quickly when disturbed.

Pumpkin beetles tend to cluster together and can quickly defoliate and kill seedlings and small plants. Older plants can tolerate a greater amount of feeding before yields start to decline. Flowers are destroyed and feeding on the skin of fruit causes blemishes. Larvae feed on roots, but damage is minimal and usually plants are not affected.