Cucumber beetles…. mere mention strikes fear in the hearts of vegetable gardeners, countrywide. Or, at least, it should.
They attack flowers and ornamentals as well as cucumbers. In fact, over 270 plants in 29 families fall prey to this little trouble-maker.
To learn more, I consulted Golden Harvest Organics online library. It was fascinating to learn (among other things) that the beetles actually transmit bacterial diseases which overwinter in their intestines, infecting plants in their earliest of stages.
According to ghorganics.com, the striped cucumber beetles do the most damage to the cucumber families or cucurbits, appearing a good four weeks before their spotted relatives.
Aside from hitting potatoes, squash, asparagus, tomatoes, fruits, and melons, they go after corn with a vengeance. Larvae infestation will impact the root system so forcefully, the corn appears to be drought-stricken. Adult beetles burrow into the silks when pollination is due to occur—resulting in “poor grain set.”
There are repellent plants which could be planted to deter the beetle and various other organic methods. (Try placing aluminum foil beneath plants to reflect light—the beetles prefer the underside of leaves because of the shade.)
David prefers the route of “integrated pest management” (IPM). Which is our very next blog entry….