Since finding them in the garden, I’ve been researching striped cucumber beetles and how we can control them organically.
Cucumber beetles are troublesome on cucumber, squash, melons, and pumpkins.
The one I’ve spotted in our garden is the very common striped cucumber beetle but there is also a spotted cucumber beetle in New York that has a yellowish green body and 12 spots.
In addition to the damage these beetles do to leaves, they carry bacterial wilt which, as the name implies, causes the plant to wilt and die.
Adult striped cucumber beetles are tiny (about a quarter of an inch long) and have a black head and black and yellow striped body.
The adults lay pale orange-yellow eggs near the base of the plant and the larvae feed on plant roots. This is when they are the most destructive and do the most damage.
What to Do
This week, check your crops for beetles early in the day when they are slow and can be knocked into a pail of soapy water and drowned.
Neem oil also works and can be purchased at the big box stores and applied according to label instructions.
Also check near the base of plants for the eggs and remove any you find before they emerge and the larvae go into the roots.
Observation is really the best defense in a garden. Trouble found early can be addressed before issues develop.
To the person who left an insect in the plastic container. It is an adult squash bug. Handpicking is a good method of keeping them out of the garden as there aren’t many organic controls otherwise.