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Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

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Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby simple4 » Jun 30, 2012 8:05 pm

My wife and I are very new to vegetable gardening and are very proud of what we accomplished in our garden but panic has struck....we are infested (like overnight!!) with Cucumber Beetles. We have been reading all kinds of advice today on the internet. Has anyone had any success at keeping these bugs at bay?

Thanks in advance - Wade
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby Mervyn » Jul 01, 2012 2:11 pm

I have no expierience with them, but since no one else has answered I found this, One of the suggestions is to plant radishes around the plant, this is something i have tried for other insects and it does work.

http://www.ghorganics.com/CucumberBeetles.htm
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby Dumbo » Jul 01, 2012 10:18 pm

Welp, I think for the first time in my life I am affected by this critter.
I noticed one pickle plant just wilt and hang there. Wife spotted those cuke beetles.

I'm thinking I got the bacterial wilt from them that I have just read about. I pulled the plant up and tossed it. First time I ever lot a single plant in a garden as well.

Not sure what to do. I'm the type to pull out the poison.

However, I read that in the 1800's what people used to do is drape cheese cloth over their cukes/pickles, thus the buggers can't get at it. The cheese clothe lets light and air in, but not the bugs. But that's got to be a pain to pull up to pick the stuff then re-drape.

Wonder if I can make something that will be easy to lift up... hmmm I have enough cheese clothe here...

Input Anyone?

I also read that if the cukes aren't available they will go after tomatoes. This true? Time for poison? Will they give this bacterial wilt to the tomatoes?
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby OGrubber » Jul 02, 2012 11:35 am

Unfortunately, once you have an infestation, the cucumber beetles are really hard to control. My understanding is that there is at least two generations per season.

What you can try, is to dust the soil around the base of all your cucs with DE [diatomateous earth] to try and keep the second generation from emerging after "hatching". You can also try a spray containing pyrethrum [a specific var of chrysanthemum - available commercially, I believe] for the foliage. As well, you can buy "row cover" fleece which is an actual physical barrier - should be available in garden supply stores.

They do transmit disease from one plant to another, and they will go for melons, and squash if cucumbers are not available to them.

In this instance, planting radish near/with cucumbers would be considered an indicator crop to help determine mass emergence prior to the event. Radish is not an effective deterent when the feeding preference is cucurbits.

Good luck. They are voracious eaters.
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby simple4 » Jul 02, 2012 2:06 pm

Thanks everyone for your input. I am afraid that we are losing the battle. They have literally exploded in numbers and the entire garden is covered. Sure makes gardening not worth the time, effort and money when something like this happens. Feeling somewhat defeated. Maybe next year, if we decide to do this, I will try a cover of some sort. Thanks again - Wade
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby Dumbo » Jul 03, 2012 5:58 am

I read that these things really come out at dusk, so I check around 8:30-pm last night and yeah, there were lots. Hard to grab them and squish them since they take off.

However, I went out at 5-am this morning and noticed that they must mate at sun up. Each and everyone I saw were humping. the bigger one at the bottom and little one on top. All of them were like this. All. When you disturb them they can't fly off. The bottom one just tries to run, but is too slow.

So, if anyone is going to spray or squish, 5-am would be the best time. It's a 2-for-1 bonus, and they are stuck together and can't fly off.

I have no spray with what OGrubber mentioned, so I squished. I'll get something tonight.

In my arsenal of bug sprays that have to be 20-years old, I came across some yellow sticky thing I never knew I had, by Safers. It seems to be tangle-foot (or similar) on a nice bright yellow paper that looks like a cuke flower.

Assuming I don't have a cat, bird or squirrel stuck to this, i'll post results tomorrow.
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby DonnaZn2SK » Jul 03, 2012 12:36 pm

Marc,
I don't think those sticky traps will catch any cuke beetles, they are more for fungus gnats and the like. The beetles are big enough to fight through the adhesive, and I'm not sure whether they are attracted to yellow like other insects. Knock on wood, we haven't had to deal with them in our area, yet.
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby OGrubber » Jul 03, 2012 4:31 pm

They are very attracted to yellow, Donna. They love to feed on the pollen in cuc, squash and melon flowers. However, like you, I'm wondering if those traps are gluey enough to hold those beetles if they do land on them.

Marc, are your sticky traps holding on to any beetles?
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby Dumbo » Jul 03, 2012 5:41 pm

only have flies on it, and other weird looking things with long legs. But, no beetle.

Maybe it's too low to the ground? Not in the cukes enough?

This evening I'll try and fix something to put it closer into the leaves and mid-height of the row, 3-4-feet off the ground.

I was reading farmers did this with yellow pieces of plywood, but they put an attractant on it. I have no beetle attractant. Maybe I'll cut a leaf & cuke and rub the juice from those all over whatever I fix up this evening, see if that works. Think I read they are attracted to Eugenol, and I think there was something else. I didn't save the info, stupid me.

Eugenol - Wiki: extracted from certain essential oils especially from clove oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, basil and bay leaf.
Maybe I'll try a few with different things around it, see if something works.

I'm growing basil, none on them, so scratch that one. Not sure if I have any clove around...

Yeah it's sticky enough. When I found this stuff around 5:30-am, and only after one coffee, I was cursing getting those little folded yellow things off my fingers. grrr Very sticky and strong enough.

Also, maybe it's just too small? I read farmers paint a 3-4 foot wide piece of plywood yellow. Maybe that looks more like a big patch of yellow flowers?

Anyhow, will try different things, see if anything works.

EDIT:
It decided to rain, so the playing with bugs will have to wait till it stops raining. Tomorrow or the day after. Guess it gives me a chance to source out some eugenol as a test.
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Re: Cucumber Beetle Infestation...HELP

Postby maryjanej » Jul 04, 2012 4:19 am

I have some striped cucumber beetles on mine.

I found this info on the internet that a person can try.

Stripped Cucumber Beetle

This one-quarter-inch-long, pale yellow insect ranges across the entire eastern seaboard. It is distinguished by three distinct lengthwise black stripes on its wing cases. Most people consider only the adult beetle's damage - they chew on leaves and flowers leaving behind a lacy appearance. But much of the real damage occurs underground by their larvae – small grub-like critters which feed on concealed stems and roots.

The key to managing this pest are its worst enemies: various soldier beetles. Golden or dull orange with black markings and a black head, these highly beneficial half-inch-long bugs make quick work of cucumber beetles.

Rotenone dust does a fair job of controlling them but a mixture of lime (1 cupful) and wood ash (1 cupful) in about three gallons of water, sprayed on upper and lower leaf surfaces will do the job even better.


Spotted Cucumber Beetle

Very much like the stripped type, this one is just a little smaller and has 11 or 12 black spots on wing cases. Damage is similar, as is their control. A small, predatory fly takes care of many of these bugs but if things get out of control, rotenone or pyrethrum (a natural substance derived from colorful daisies) will do the trick. Covering plants with cheesecloth or REEMAY floating row cover will prevent their access to young plants.

Adults of both types of cucumber beetles over-winter in plant debris left lying about the garden so it's important to do a bang-up job of post-harvest cleanup. Both also transmit a number of viral wilts and diseases - all the more reason to keep them under tight reins.

http://www.hillgardens.com/veggie-8.htm

Mary-Jane
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