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Sometimes, you may notice that your cucumber seedlings got small spots or got stripped. This may lead to the permanent yellowing of the whole crop. Gradually, the affected leaves and seedlings become porous due to the damage of the infection.
Do you know the exact reason behind all this damage? This is due to the cucumber beetles that do severe damage to your cucurbit crops. So, how to get rid of cucumber beetles faster?
Cucumber beetles can prove very harmful to your cucurbits if left unchecked. These feed on seedlings, while their larvae feed on the roots of the plant. The adults are again shifted to the leaves of the host plant. This cycle keeps on revolving if left unchecked. If you overlook this issue, your other crops – like zucchini, pumpkins, or green beans – may also suffer.
Read on to find out the symptoms that will tell you that your cucurbits have got beetles, how to prevent cucumber beetles from invading your plants, and effective tips on how to get rid of cucumber beetles. You might also enjoy reading: Best Tips On Starting Cucumbers Indoors.
Cucumber Beetles Characteristics
The table below contains cucumber beetles‘ characteristics to help you identify and successfully get rid of these culprits.
|Common Names||– Cucumber beetle|
– Striped beetle
– Spotted cucumber beetle
– Spotted beetle
– Black and yellow beetle
|Scientific Name(s)||– Diabrotica virgifera virgifera|
– Acalymma trivittatum
– Diabrotica undecimpunctata
– Diabrotica barberi
– Diabrotica speciosa
– Acalymma vittatum
– Diabrotica balteata
|Size||– 1/5 inch (0.51 cm) long|
– 1/10 inch (0.254 cm) wide
– Cucumber beetles have yellow wings with three longitudinal black stripes a blackhead, and antennae
|Larvae of Cucumber Beetles||– The larvae of cucumber beetles are approximately 0.36 inches (9mm) in length and have dark heads with three pairs of legs.|
– You will almost never see the larvae of cucumber beetles because they eat at the plant under the soil. But if you see adults, you likely have some cucumber beetle larvae damaging the host plant.
|Active Season||– Cucumber beetles generally become active in late May or early June and feed on the blossoms of early flowering plants, including hawthorn, dandelions, and apples, until their host crops are available, according to the University of Minnesota.|
|Life cycle||– Like any other beetle, striped cucumber beetles have a basic life cycle, and understanding their life cycle can help you successfully control them.|
– Generally, adults survive the winter by overwintering (winter hibernation) near buildings, fence rows, wood lots, or their current generation’s host plants.
– When temperatures go up again in the early to mid-spring, they appear and quickly seek out young seedlings plants to eat.
|Plants Generally Affected By Cucumber Beetles||– Amaranth|
– Bell pepper
– Sweet potato
Cucumber Beetle Life Cycle
Both striped and spotted cucumber beetles are harmful to cucurbit crops.
- Without proper, adult beetles can cause bacterial wilt, defoliate plants, and even cause damage to your crops.
- Larvae of the striped beetle cause damage by feeding on cucurbit plants’ roots and stems.
Here is the basic life cycle of a cucumber beetle.
1- Active Season of Cucumber Beetles
Cucumber beetles are generally active in late May or early June and feed on the blossoms of early flowering plants like apples, dandelions, and hawthorn until their host plants are available, according to the University of Minnesota.
The beetle’s life is the time to eat, mate, and lay eggs. This season lasts in June and July. After some days, eggs are converted into larvae that feed on the roots of the host plant for 2 to 4 weeks.
2- Pupation Period
During this period, the beetles’ larvae turn adult and are shifted to the leaves, flowers, or fruit of the host plant. This period lasts till September.
The adult beetles feed, and females deposit eggs in cracks in the soil at the base of cucurbits crops. After the eggs hatch, the larvae feed on the roots. These larvae will then pupate in the soil. Later in the summer, the next generation of cucumber beetles will emerge.
These new beetles will start eating your cucumber and even melon plants and overwinter (winter hibernation) until the following spring.
3- Feeding Period of Cucumber Beetles
This period is the peak time for beetles when they cause a lot of damage to the leaves, fruit, or flowers of the host plants. This period lasts for about the whole spring.
How to Easily Identify Cucumber Beetles?
Here are the different identities of striped beetles, spotted beetles, and larvae of cucumber beetles. To get rid of cucumber beetles, identifying them is necessary.
- Striped Beetles: These are easy to identify as they are about ¼ inch in size and have mixed yellow and black abdomen while dark black head plus antenna. Generally, striped cucumber beetles prefer feeding on cucurbits, including cucumbers, pumpkins, squash, and watermelons.
- Spotted Beetles: These are also ¼ inch-long beetles having 12 black spots on their yellow abdomen. Their head and antenna are also black. In addition to cucurbits, potted cucumber beetles typically feed on other plants.
- Larvae of Cucumber Beetles: Their larvae are working like having a white abdomen, dark head, and three pairs of legs on the thorax.
What Damages Do Cucumber Beetles Cause?
- As we mentioned above, cucumber larvae feed on the roots of the cucurbit crops. So, they may affect the growth of the plants. This kind of affection is not so severe and can be controlled with minimum crop loss.
- Adult cucumber beetles are shifted to the leaves of the plants and cause a lot of damage to them. They cause the yellowing of the leaves and make them porous too.
- Adult beetles may also affect the flower and fruit of the cucurbits. This results in odd scars and pockmarks on the fruit, which will diminish the attractiveness of the flower.
- They may cause bacterial infection if left unchecked. This will cause the growth of different bacterial diseases in the cucurbit crops.
- If you don’t get rid of cucumber beetles, they can spread viruses and bacterial diseases from plant to plant.
You might also enjoy reading: How Much Light Is Enough To Grow Lettuce Indoors (This Much!)
How Do You Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles Naturally?
Lots of natural methods can prove beneficial to get rid of cucumber beetles. Striped Beetles are hard to get rid of; however, here are some natural methods that will help to get rid of cucumber beetles.
1- Keep Examining Your Cucurbits Plants
To make sure that your plants are secure from the cucumber beetles, keep examining them. All plants should be inspected, but those newly planted must be checked for some days.
If you find any mark related to the beetles, separate that plant instantly. We recommend quarantining the newly planted plants for at least two weeks. Keep checking them regularly.
2- Using Soapy Water To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles
People argue, “Will soapy water kill cucumber beetles?”. Generally, soapy water will prove an effective homemade pesticide that will kill the cucurbit crops’ beetles.
Here is how to get rid of cucumber beetles using soap:
- Mix 2 tbsp of dish detergent or dishwashing soap and 1-quarter of water.
- Shake the mixture well to make the suds.
- Shift the mixture into the spray bottle.
- Spray the mixture over the infected plants.
- If you notice that the soapy water is not effective, add some extra quantity of the detergent.
- Do not forget to rinse the sensitive plants with water after spraying the soapy water.
3- Using Neem Oil Spray To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles
Been oil is an effective and pure organic natural remedy to get rid of cucumber beetles. Proceed in the following manner with this natural remedy.
Tips on how to use Neem Oil Spray To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles:
- Purchase neem oil from any organic store. Make sure that the oil is 100% natural.
- Mix the normal quantity of the oil with water and shake well to mix them.
- To test whether the neem oil is normal in quantity or not, spray it over a single cucumber leaf. If it doesn’t cause harm to it, go with this solution.
- Neem oil is sticky and may also burn the plant. So, use this carefully.
- Never overuse this oil to prevent the plants.
- We recommend rinsing the plants with clean water to clean them from sticky neem oil.
4- Using Row Covers To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles
Along with other simple remedies, row covers will also prove effective against cucumber beetles. However, it’s hard work, but once you have done it, your cucurbits will be safe against other infectious flies, beetles, aphids, fleas, and bugs.
So, cover your plants with row covers that can be ordered as per the size of your plants.
Don’t forget to remove the row that covers several hours each day during the blossoming time to allow for pollination. Check out the video below on how to make your own row covers.
5- Using Natural Predators To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles
Different natural predators can prey on the Beatles if you expose them to beetles. These predators can kill them effectively without causing any additional damage to your crops. Here are some options that can prove effective.
- Tachinid flies
- Assassin bugs
- Braconid wasps
- Soldier beetles
- Entomopathogenic nematodes
- Bacillus thuringiensis
See also: Top 10 Good Insects To Add To Your Garden.
Search for any of the above-mentioned predators in your area. If you succeed in finding them, expose them to the Beatles. However, if you are unable to catch them or even find them, you can order them online. Different organic stores have living predators.
You can purchase ladybugs here. For better results, ensure you release them early in the morning or late in the evening.
6- Using Yellow Sticky Traps To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles
Using yellow sticky traps is an excellent way to get rid of cucumbers if you apply them correctly. You can purchase a pack of sticky traps at your local hardware store or online on Amazon (here’s a link to buy on Amazon).
Regardless, read carefully and follow the package directions for using sticky traps. Sticky traps are generally cheap, lightweight, and can last a long time. In addition, they can help you catch beetles passively without you needing to do anything.
7- Using Cucumber Beetle Trap To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles
One of the most effective ways to eliminate cucumber beetles is to set up a cucumber beetle trap. Research from the University of Missouri indicated proper use of cucumber beetle traps helps successfully get rid of cucumber beetles in cucurbit plants.
I recommend buying one online (on Amazon) or at your local garden center if there is one near you.
8- Using Diatomaceous Earth To Eliminate Cucumber Beetles
Using Diatomaceous earth is a great way to eliminate cucumber beetles from our garden.
Diatomaceous earth is a non-toxic powder, making it an excellent pest control for your garden. For best results, sprinkle diatomaceous earth all over your young plants and the soil around them.
Best Ways Of Using Diatomaceous Earth:
- Avoid using Diatomaceous earth when your plants are flowering because it can kill any bug that crawls through it, including bees. Instead, use it to prevent and kill cucumber beetles on young plants.
- Apply diatomaceous earth when the bees and other beneficial bugs are less likely to be out, particularly early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Apply diatomaceous earth on the ground around your plants where the pests are more likely to be hidden and not visible to the naked eye.
- Apply diatomaceous earth with caution and only use it on plants heavily affected by insects.
- Wear protection, including gardening gloves and masks, when applying diatomaceous earth, mainly when the weather is unstable.
Will Sevin Dust Kill Cucumber Beetles?
Sevin dust will kill the cucumber beetles if sprayed in normal quantities. Also, make sure that you cover the whole plant while spraying with the Sevin dust so that you may prevent the beetle from spreading in the future too.
Tips For Preventing Cucumber Beetles
- Until your garden is in the late fall, ensure you remove all debris after the fall harvest to prevent creating a suitable overwintering habitat for the cucumber beetles.
- Every season, try to rotate crops to avoid planting your cucurbit crops directly into soils containing overwintering cucumber beetle populations.
- Transplanting young plants instead of directly planting them can protect vulnerable seedlings from cucumber beetle damage.
- Using trap crops at the boundary of the harvested crop can help prevent cucumber beetles from migrating into the harvested crop.
- Using beneficial and natural predators, including nematodes, braconid wasps, and soldier beetles, can help prevent cucumber beetles from invading your garden.
- Delaying planting, meaning planting your cucumber plants a little later in the season, is an excellent way to prevent cucumber beetles. If you can be patient with growing your cucumbers for a few weeks, you might be able to prevent them from invading your garden.
- Companion planting your vegetables with flowers can help prevent cucumber beetles.
Cucumber Beetles are eye-catching pests that cause severe damage to all cucurbit crops. If left unchecked, they may eliminate the whole crop of cucumber.
Use the above-mentioned natural ways to identify, manage, and eliminate beetles and keep your garden thriving.