Cucumber beetles are eye-catching pests that damage vegetable crops in both their larval and adult stages. They target members of the cucurbit family, such as cucumbers, melons and squash, but some species go after eggplants, beans and other crops. These pests also spread plant viruses such as cucumber mosaic virus, and bacterial plant diseases. Several generations occur in a single season, building up their numbers and their damage by season's end.
Cucumber Beetle Identification
Depending on the species, common cucumber beetles are spotted or striped. Both types grow just 1/4 inch in length. Spotted types have black heads and 12 black spots on greenish-yellow wing coverings. Striped types have black heads and three black stripes running down yellow-orange wing covers. Both types have long, slender antennae. Cucumber beetle larvae are creamy white and wormlike, with slightly darker heads and tips. They grow to about 3/8 inch long, with three pairs of short legs near their heads.
Signs or Damage of Cucumber Beetles
Cucumber beetle larvae hatch from orange-yellow eggs laid at the base of plants. Then they feed on plant roots for several weeks. With severe infestations, plants may fall over under strong winds. Adult beetles damage all plant parts above the soil line, feeding on fruits, soft new shoots, flowers and leaves. Their striking coloration makes them easy to see as they feed.
How to Control Cucumber Beetles
Treat plants at the earliest sign of cucumber beetles, before damage is severe and crops are lost to the pest. Because bountiful cucurbit crops and insect pollinators go hand in hand, avoid treating open blooms. GardenTech brand offers several products to kill cucumber beetles and protect your harvest:
- Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate provides a simple, economical way to provide large-scale coverage of vining cucurbits or other cucumber beetle targets. Use with a pump-style sprayer, and spray plant surfaces thoroughly to kill listed pests by contact and protect against cucumber beetles for up to three months.
- Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray attaches to a common garden hose and mixes and measures as you spray. Cover plant surfaces thoroughly to kill existing cucumber beetles by contact and protect against new generations of these beetles for up to three months.
- Sevin Insect Killer Dust Ready to Use starts killing cucumber beetles immediately upon contact to protect edibles from insect damage. Use the convenient shaker container to apply a thin, uniform layer on both the upper and lower sides of leaves and stems.
Cucumber Beetle Control Tip: Cucumber beetles overwinter as adults in weeds. Keep your gardens and surrounding areas free of weeds and long grasses to reduce spring numbers.
Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions, including guidelines for listed plants and pests, application frequency and pre-harvest intervals (PHI) for edible crops.
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Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.