Finding small striped or spotted beetles on your cucurbit crops? They could be cucumber beetles! Here’s how to identify, control, and prevent cucumber beetles in the garden.
What Are Cucumber Beetles?
If you find that the stems of your seedlings are being eaten off, leaves are yellowing and wilting, and holes are appearing, you may have a striped or spotted cucumber beetle problem. Striped cucumber beetles are specialists on cucurbits (such as cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, watermelons) while spotted cucumber beetles feed on other plants in addition to cucurbits.
Often, the beetles leave their hibernating sites early in the season (mid-April to early June), and feed on seedlings right as they are emerging, usually killing them. Then their larvae feed on the roots of the host plants. As they grow into adults (mid-July to September), the beetles will once again feed on the leaves, vines, and fruit of plants that survive, leaving deep marks in the rind.
Cucumber beetles hold another threat too: They can spread bacterial diseases and viruses from plant to plant, such as bacterial wilt or mosaic virus.