0
points
How do you deter cucumber beetles?

Cucumber    Frankfort, NY

My cucumber vines were literally sucked dry last year by cucumber beetles. Does anyone know of companion plants or non-toxic treatments to discourage them? I really don't want to have to spray chemical pesticides.


Posted by: Brick House Acres (9 points) Brick House Acres
Posted: April 17, 2013


Joan Allen commented,
Traditional advice regarding companion plants says that Nasturtiums and radishes will help repel cucumber beetles but little research has been done. In one study, nasturtiums did not have a measurable effect. Row cover as described below until pollination is needed is really a good recommendation. Research has shown that the use of black plastic mulch can reduce the survival of cucumber beetle larvae. Also, an organically approved product, kaolin clay (Surround) can help with a light infestation.
over 7 years ago.

David Hughes commented,
Hi Joan, could you put this as an answer please? Would be more effective for people to see and learn from it. Thanks
over 7 years ago.



Answers

2
points
Cucumber beetle is the name given to several species of beetle belonging to two different genera of insect, Acalymma and Diabrotica and includes the species A. vittatum (striped cucumber beetle), D. undecimpunctata (spotted cucumber beetle) and D. balteata (banded cucumber beetle). These beetles are serious pests of Cucurbit plants including cucumbers, squash and melon. The adults cause mechanical damage to the plant by feeding on leaves, pollen, flowers and the fruit rind, while the larvae damage the plant below the soil surface by feeding on the roots. In addition to feeding damage, the adult beetles are also vectors of bacterial wilt, a destructive diseases that can devastate crops.

Overwintering adults emerge in Spring to feed on Cucurbit seedlings. Females lay their eggs in the soil at the base of the plants and the larvae hatch and begin feeding on the roots. The larvae develop and pupate into adult beetles with the 1st generation of adults emerging in late June into July.

In the absence of chemical pesticides in organic farms or gardens, the most effective way to protect crops is to use floating row covers to create a barrier between the beetles and the plant. These should be placed on the plant in early spring before adult beetles emerge from overwintering sites.

If your plants do become infested with beetles you can physically remove them with the aid of a small hand vacuum. This process will have to be repeated often to keep the population under control.

Another idea is to try planting an early trap crop of cucumbers to attract the emerging overwintered adults. You can then destroy the beetles and plants before planting another crop to try and help control the beetle population.

I’m afraid I don’t know about what companion crops would be effective but hopefully somebody else will be able to help with this aspect?

Useful information
http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/2808/2808-1009...
http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entf...


Posted by: Lindsay McMenemy (2 points) Lindsay McMenemy
Posted: April 17, 2013


Brick House Acres commented,
Thanks for the good info. It really helps to understand the insects life cycle when choosing the best method(s) of control.
over 7 years ago.

Brick House Acres commented,
Striped cucumber beetles are the ones that have been feasting on my plants!
over 7 years ago.



1
point
Many garden insects breath through their bodies. A product called Neem oil (derived from a tree) which is sold as the same is used to kill many different garden pests. This product coats the insect with a thin layer of oil thus preventing it to breath. I have used neem oil for several years and it is one of the most effective products I have used. Neem has never hurt any of my veggie plants. It's organic and can be used up to the day of harvest. Neem can be used on many garden insects. PLEASE NOTE: It will also kill beneficial insects as well. If you use it, as always, read and follow the directions.


Posted by: deactivated (2 points) deactivated
Posted: April 17, 2013


deactivated commented,
A bit of scientific background (although already 20 years old): http://library.worldtracker.org/Scien...
over 7 years ago.

Brick House Acres commented,
I try to attract as many beneficial insects as possible to the garden with blooming cilantro and other plants. Though, I will do some research to see if Neem oil could be used judiciously to help with the problem.
over 7 years ago.

Brick House Acres commented,
Thankfs for sharing the article. Lots of good info in there!
over 7 years ago.



You need to log in if you'd like to add an answer or comment.