How to control cucumber beetles
According to Johnny Selected seeds in Maine, "Cucumber beetles are a major problem wherever squash, cucumbers, watermelon, pumpkin, and other cucurbits are grown. Beetles can kill or severely stunt seedlings, and later, on older plants, can damage stems and fruits. The beetle is well known for transmitting bacterial wilt and some viruses. Gummy stem blight is also associated with beetle damage. Larvae feed on roots reducing yield."
I have used organic controls like lures and kaolin clay barriers to control the beetles. Handpicking can also work well if you don't have a major infestation of the beetle. In severe outbreaks, you can use a spray with pyrethrin when adults are seen feeding on pollen in flowers.
Adults overwinter in dense grass or under leaves, emerging in early spring to early summer. They eat weed pollen for 2 weeks, then move to crop plants, laying eggs in soil at base of plants. Eggs hatch in 10 days; larvae burrow into soil, feed on roots for 2 to 6 weeks, pupate in mid- to late summer. Adults emerge in 2 weeks to feed on blossoms and maturing fruit. One to two generations per year.
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