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Cucumber Beetles Control

Cucumber beetles are one of the more harmful insects in the vegetable garden.

In the larva stage, these little grubs feed on plant roots, robbing valuable nutrients. The adult beetle feeds on plant foliage, flowers and pollen. In addition, the adult is notorious for transmitting plant disease, most notably bacterial wilt.

There are two kinds of cucumber beetles:

  • The Striped Cucumber Beetle is 1/4" long. It has a yellow-green body with three black stripes.
  • The Spotted Cucumber Beetle is also 1/4" long,. It has a yellow green body with 12 black spots.

Cucumber Beetles can be a real threat to cucumbers and other members of the Cucurbit family ( squash, melons, pumpkins, watermelons). They also affect a wide range of plants in the larva stage.

In the larva stage, it is known as the Southern Corn rootworm.

Cucumber Beetle Life Cycle

 There are usually one (northern areas) or two (in the south) generations of beetles per year.

The adults emerge in the spring, after over-wintering in plant debris, in fields and wooded areas. They arrive after the last frost. Adults females lay their orange eggs at the the base of plants.

When the eggs hatch, the larva digs into the soil, in search of roots to feed upon.

Cucumber Beetle Damage:

As they go from plant to plant, adults can transmit bacterial wilt and aid in the spread of powdery mildew. Their diet includes pollen, which can result in poor pollination.

Larva feed on plant roots, robbing the plant of needed nutrients.

Controlling Cucumber Beetles:

There are a variety of ways to control these pests:

  • Use pesticides with pyrethrum. Dusts and sprays work well.

  • Use floating row covers to keep insect soff plants.

  • Pick insects off the leaves of plants.

  • Beetles over-winter in plant debris. Remove plant debris in the fall.

Organic spray recipes - find out how to make a variety of organic sprays.

Related Topics:

More on harmful garden insects

Beneficial Insects

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