Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Pest Spotlight #2: Cucumber Beetle

Cucumber beetles do not only attack cucumbers, the larvae and adults attack asparagus, broad beans, eggplants, potatoes, certain fruit trees, tomatoes, peas, squash, corn (a favorite), cucumbers, potatoes, fruits, and melons.

Cucumber beetles damage cucurbit crops in at least three ways. First, their feeding directly stunts plants and, when flowers are eaten. Second, cucumber beetles transmit bacterial wilt disease. Once bacterial disease has entered the plant, there's very little that you can do the bacterium spreads rapidly through the vascular system of the plant, creating resins which restrict the movement of water and nutrients. This causes the plant to wilt and die, sometimes in as few as seven days. Third, adults scar the fruit reducing its marketability.

Begin cucumber beetle control as soon as seedlings emerge. Cultural controls include crop rotation, the use of transplants rather than direct seeding, row covers, trap cropping, mulching for predator conservation, the use of reflective plastic mulches and choosing resistant varieties.

Kaolin clay is reported to act by making cucurbit crops unattractive to cucumber beetles and because it gums up the beetles’ antennae and otherwise irritates them.

Cucumber beetle eggs on the underside of a leaf,  Hunt for them at night and destroy them.

These are the spotted and the striped cucumber beetles.

Cucumber beetle damage

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