Controlling Cucumber Beetle
Cucumber beetles are a problem for home gardeners and agriculture in general. The beetles feed on a variety of plants, especially damaging to the cucurbit family. The adult beetles transmit bacterial mosaic and wilts. Interestingly, these bacterial diseases actually overwinter in the beetles' intestines. What happens is that as the beetles are actively feeding they transmit the diseases from plant to plant. Symptoms of these diseases are wilting and death of plants. In spring the adult beetles will feed on seedling shoots and leaves.
You can use all types of controls around the garden. Here are a few of my favorites. See what works for your area.
Predators: Tachnid flies, soldier beetles, parasitic nematodes and braconid wasps. Lacewings and ladybugs eat the eggs.
Repellent plants: Broccoli, calendula, catnip, goldenrod, nasturtiums, radish, rue and tansy. African, French or Mexican marigolds which are more pungent work best. The more common marigolds may actually attract them and therefore you could try using these a trap crop.
Floating row covers are an effective control method during the early season of plant growth. They prevent insect attack by forming a barrier between insects and plants. Row covers need to be removed during the late vegetative stage, at the onset of flowering, to allow for bee pollination. Once floating row covers are removed, other control measures such as treatments with botanical pesticides should be employed.
You can use either of the botanical poisons: pyrethrum or rotenone. If I resort to these methods I do it once every 7-10 days until I no longer observe the adults.
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