protecting watermelons from PESTS

We are in Northern IL.
I planted watermelons in an area (front yard) that always had problems of similar plants being victimized by some pests. Not sure which ones. Apparently, they like eating young shoots.
How can I realiztically prevent that, thanks.
i
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u name it - i've faced about every watermelon pest out there - please be more specific as to what has ailed you in the past.
after years of trying less energy-intensive methods, i've resorted to the following:
1. 2 foot rabbit fence around the entire melon patch - this keeps out rabbits (they often trash my sweet corn too) and turtles. 2. 10 foot t-posts spaced every 10 feet around the entire melon patch with a 16 guage wire run every 8" from just above the rabbit fence to the top of the t-posts. this is sadly the only method i've tried that actually keeps the deer from trashing the melon/corn patch. in the following picture u can kind of get the idea of what i mean by this setup - i happen to be showing corn in this pic but the same principles apply to the melon patch side of the garden -
http://home.earthlink.net/~brickled/_images/garden05008.jpg
3. from planting til the plants start outgrowing the enclosure, i put little "cages" over each melon plant - this enclosure is made up of fencing commonly available at TSC - has a mesh of 2x4" - this keeps robins and other birds from "slicing" the plant's main stem. many years (maybe 1 in 3 years), for unknown reasons, birds will do this - resulting in a totally severed plant or one with many "slices" in its main stem. needless to say, this is very detrimental to the plant's chances of success.
i can take some detailed pics of my setups if requested. each year, using these plus other methods, i harvest way more melon than my family can possibly consume. we are in zone 5 and primarily plant "yellow doll" watermelon variety.

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That's good, since I also planted some corn as well.
Are there are chemical methods? Such as sprinkling cayenne pepper around?

http://home.earthlink.net/~brickled/_images/garden05008.jpg
I do not think that deer are an issue.
i
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well......i've read about many many "chemical" methods over the years. depending on what the pest is, they have varying degrees of effectivenes. sadly, even in best case senarios, u're stuck reapplying any such method every so often as well as after each rain.
the web is full of many do it yourself home mixtures that should at least get u started. for me, the wildlife has been entirely too aggressive and the only effective control has been fencing.
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Thanks. I decided to take a plunge and bought "hot pepper spray WAX", and they claim that rains do not affect it all that much. I could fence the area, but it is on the very front of our yard. Would not look as good.
i

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