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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.

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 twelve 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/Damage: 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.

Control: Treat plants at the earliest sign of cucumber beetles, before damage is severe and crops are lost to the pest. GardenTech® brand offers several products to kill cucumber beetles by contact and keep protecting for up to three months*. These products can treat cucurbits and fruiting vegetables, such as eggplants, right up to one day before harvest:

  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Use simplifies target spot treatments and lets you control the width of the stream from narrow or wide. Adjust the nozzle to avoid spraying open blooms and protect insect pollinators, which increase your cucurbit crops.
  • 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 cover all plant surfaces thoroughly.
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray attaches to a common garden hose and mixes and measures as you spray. Cover all plant surfaces thoroughly to kill existing cucumber beetles and protect against new generations.

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 and follow the instructions carefully.

*These products provide up to 3 month control on all listed insects except ticks.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

 

PHOTO CREDIT:

"Striped Cucumber Beetle" by Katja Schulz licensed under CC BY 2.0

"Spotted Cucumber Beetle" by Marvin Smith licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

"Spotted Cucumber Beetle - Diabrotica undecimpunctata" by Judy Gallagher licensed under CC BY 2.0

"Spotted cucumber beetle" by Julie Feinstein licensed under CC BY 2.0


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