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Cucumber Beetles

FAST FACTS - CUCUMBER BEETLES
by Nanette Londeree, Master Rosarian

SIGNS

  • Shiny, greenish-yellow six legged insect, about 0.25 inch long, with black heads and long antennae
  • Striped or spotted adults, depending upon species
  • Whitish, slender larvae with three pairs of short legs; the head and tip of the abdomen are darker

    SYMPTOMS

  • Shoots and blossoms that exhibit damage
  • Scars on soft fruit
  • Appearance of mosaic virus or wilts in cucurbits

    CAUSE

  • Western spotted cucumber beetle, Diabrotica undecimpunctata
  • Western striped cucumber beetle, Acalymma trivittata

    OPTIMAL CONDITIONS

  • Over winter as adults in weedy areas
  • Move into planted fields and gardens as soon as plants start to come up
  • Several generations a year
  • Before cucurbits are available, subsist on the pollen and petals of many plants
  • Pests of many plants including cucumbers and their relatives (squashes, gourds, and melons), beans, peas, corn and blossoms of several wild and cultivated plants; potatoes, beets, tomatoes, eggplants, and cabbage, roses and dahlias

    TREATMENT

    Prevention:

  • Maintain good garden sanitation
  • Dust diatomaceous earth around the base of plants to kill larvae emerging to eat and also create a barrier to egg laying
  • Knock, shake, or hand pick beetles off plants and out of flowers
  • For most vegetable gardens, place protective cloth over emerging plants and remove it when plants are old enough to tolerate damage
  • Maintain a diverse garden that includes general predators and parasites; birds, parasitic wasps, soldier beetles, and tachinid flies

    Elimination:

  • Pyrethrum and rotenone sprays
  • Pesticides such as Adios® that combine cucurbitacins as a feeding stimulant with a small amount of the pesticide carbaryl (Sevin ™)

    GOOD GUY / BAD GUY?

  • A very bad guy in the food garden as they girdle stems by gnawing on the tender shoots of seedlings, feed on blossoms and leave scars on the fruit; larvae injure plants by feeding on roots and tunneling through stems, and transmit deadly diseases - mosaic and bacterial wilts
  • It is more of a nuisance pest of roses


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    Last Modified: 08/06/2013