How to get rid of striped cucumber beetles

Last Updated on December 29, 2022

There are several organic methods you can try to get rid of striped cucumber beetles in your garden or farm:

  • Planting varieties of cucumbers that are resistant to cucumber beetles, such as ‘County Fair’ and ‘Double Yield’.
  • Using row covers to protect your plants from cucumber beetles. These are lightweight, fabric barriers that can be placed over plants to keep the insects out.
  • Planting cucumbers near plants that cucumber beetles dislike, such as catnip, tansy, or radishes.
  • Using a trap crop, such as ‘Blue Hubbard’ squash, to lure the cucumber beetles away from your main cucumber plants.
  • Spraying a mixture of water and liquid soap on your plants to discourage cucumber beetles from feeding.
  • Using a natural predator, such as the praying mantis, to control cucumber beetles.
  • Using a homemade, organic pesticide made from hot pepper spray or neem oil.

Remember to always follow label instructions when using any type of pesticide, and take care to avoid contaminating your crops or the environment.

Cucumber beetles can be a nuisance if you have a farm or garden, as they can damage plants by feeding on them.

What are Cucumber Beetles?

Cucumber beetles are a type of insect that feeds on the leaves, stems, and fruit of cucumber, squash, and melon plants. There are two main types of cucumber beetles: the striped cucumber beetle and the spotted cucumber beetle. Both types have a yellow or orange body with black stripes or spots, and are about a quarter of an inch long.

Cucumber beetles can cause significant damage to cucurbit crops, as they can transmit diseases and reduce the plant’s ability to photosynthesize. They are most active during the summer months, and can be found in gardens and farms throughout the United States. To control cucumber beetles, it is important to identify the type of cucumber beetle present and choose the appropriate control measures.

Ways to Get Rid of Them Organically

To protect your cucumber plants from cucumber beetles, you can try adding companion plants that are known to repel these insects. Some plants that can be helpful in repelling cucumber beetles include marigolds, nasturtiums, corn, and radishes. Planting these companion plants near your cucumber patch can help keep cucumber beetles away, allowing your cucumber plants to grow and thrive without interference. Remember, using organic methods is often a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable way to control pests in your garden.

How to Get Rid of Cucumber Beetles Organically
 Marigolds flower
How to Get Rid of Cucumber Beetles Organically
    Nasturtiums flower

To maximize the effectiveness of companion plants in repelling cucumber beetles, you can try planting them in between your cucurbit patches. This will create a barrier of plants that cucumber beetles are less likely to cross, helping to protect your cucumber plants from these pests. By alternating the placement of these companion plants, you can create a more effective defense against cucumber beetles, allowing your cucurbit crops to grow and thrive without interference.

Taking Advantage of the Season

One way to manage cucumber beetles organically is by taking advantage of the season. Cucumber beetles are most active during the warmer months of the year, so planting your cucurbits at the right time can help reduce the risk of an infestation. In general, it is best to plant cucurbits after the risk of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. This can help ensure that your plants are well established and less vulnerable to damage from cucumber beetles.

Additionally, removing any plants that have been damaged by cucumber beetles at the end of the growing season can help reduce the risk of an infestation the following year. This is because cucumber beetles overwinter in the soil, and removing any plants that may harbor these insects can help reduce their numbers. By taking advantage of the season and being proactive in your pest management strategies, you can help keep cucumber beetles at bay and protect your cucurbit crops.

How to Get Rid of Cucumber Beetles Organically

 

Taking Care of Beneficial Insects

In addition to using companion plants and taking advantage of the season, another way to control cucumber beetles organically is by protecting beneficial insects that can help eliminate these pests naturally. Beneficial insects, such as

  • braconid parasitoid wasps
  • tachinid flies
  • ground beetles
  • wolf spiders
  • and insect-eating nematodes

can all help control cucumber beetles by preying on them or laying eggs that hatch into larvae that feed on cucumber beetles. By taking care of these beneficial insects and providing them with a habitat in your garden, you can encourage their populations to grow and help control cucumber beetles naturally. Just be sure to research the specific needs of each beneficial insect and provide them with the proper care to ensure their success in your garden.

Creating Traps

One way to control cucumber beetles is by using sticky traps. These traps are usually made of yellow paper or plastic and are coated with a sticky substance that traps insects when they land on them. Cucumber beetles are attracted to the color yellow, so using yellow sticky traps can be particularly effective in trapping these pests. These traps can be purchased online or at a gardening store, and can be hung near your cucurbit plants to catch cucumber beetles as they fly by. However, it is important to note that sticky traps may also catch other beneficial insects, so you may want to consider this before using them in your garden.

Alternatively, you can try handpicking cucumber beetles off your plants or using a vacuum to remove them. Both of these methods can be effective, but may be time-consuming and may not completely eliminate the cucumber beetle population. It is important to monitor your plants regularly and take action as needed to control cucumber beetles and prevent them from causing significant damage to your crops.

Installing Row Covers

Another organic method for controlling cucumber beetles is to use row covers. Row covers are lightweight, fabric barriers that can be placed over plants to protect them from pests. These covers can be particularly useful for protecting young cucurbit plants, which may be more vulnerable to attack from cucumber beetles. You can purchase row covers online or at a gardening store, and they can be easily installed by draping them over your plants and securing them in place with stakes or other anchors. Row covers can provide a physical barrier between your plants and cucumber beetles, helping to keep these pests out and giving your plants a chance to grow and develop without interference. Be sure to remove the row covers once your plants start blooming, as the covers can also prevent pollinators from accessing your plants.

Additional Tips to Handle the Cucumber Beetle

To speed up the process of eliminating cucumber beetles using organic methods, you can try the following additional steps:

  1. Keep your garden clean and free of debris, as this can help reduce the number of places where cucumber beetles can hide and reproduce.
  2. Water your plants in the morning, as this will allow the leaves to dry more quickly, which can help prevent the spread of cucumber beetle-borne diseases.
  3. Use a natural, organic pesticide made from hot pepper spray or neem oil to repel cucumber beetles.
  4. Consider using a biological control, such as the praying mantis, to help eliminate cucumber beetles.
  5. Keep an eye on your plants and take action as needed to control cucumber beetles, such as handpicking or using sticky traps.

By following these additional steps and using a combination of the organic methods outlined above, you can effectively control cucumber beetles and protect your cucurbit crops. Remember to always follow label instructions when using any type of pesticide, and take care to avoid contaminating your crops or the environment.

Will Sevin Dust kill cucumber beetles

Sevin dust is a type of insecticide that contains the active ingredient carbaryl. It is effective at controlling a wide range of insects, including cucumber beetles. When applied according to label instructions, Sevin dust can kill cucumber beetles and help protect your plants from damage. However, it is important to note that Sevin dust is a chemical insecticide and may have negative impacts on the environment and non-target species, including beneficial insects. If you are interested in using an organic method to control cucumber beetles, there are several alternatives you can try, such as using companion plants, row covers, or natural pesticides made from hot pepper spray or neem oil.

Does neem oil kill cucumber beetles

Neem oil is a natural pesticide that is extracted from the seeds and leaves of the neem tree (Azadirachta indica). It has a number of insecticidal properties and is effective at controlling a wide range of insects, including cucumber beetles. When applied to plants, neem oil can kill cucumber beetles by disrupting their growth and reproduction. It can also repel cucumber beetles, helping to keep them away from your plants. However, it is important to note that neem oil can be toxic to some insects, including bees and other beneficial pollinators. To minimize the risk of harm to non-target species, it is important to follow label instructions when using neem oil and to apply it only to the plants that are being targeted by cucumber beetles.

 Plants that repel cucumber beetles

There are several plants that are known to repel cucumber beetles, including:

  1. Marigolds: These brightly-colored annual flowers produce a chemical that can repel cucumber beetles and other insects.
  2. Nasturtiums: These annual flowers have a strong, pungent aroma that can deter cucumber beetles and other pests.
  3. Catnip: This perennial herb is known to repel a wide range of insects, including cucumber beetles.
  4. Tansy: This perennial herb has a strong, pungent aroma that can repel cucumber beetles and other insects.
  5. Radishes: These annual vegetables produce a chemical that can repel cucumber beetles and other pests.
  6. Dill: This annual herb has a strong, pungent aroma that can deter cucumber beetles and other insects.
  7. Garlic: This perennial herb is known to repel a wide range of insects, including cucumber beetles.

By planting these companion plants near your cucurbit crops, you can help deter cucumber beetles and other pests from feeding on your plants. Just be sure to research the specific care requirements of each plant and provide them with the proper growing conditions to ensure their success in your garden.

FAQ’s

Are controlling cucumber beetles a challenge?

It can be hard, unfortunately. Cucumbers are in the same family as melons and pumpkins, and they are susceptible to the same diseases and pests. Cucumber beetles, when fed upon cucumbers, produce eggs that hatch into larvae that burrow into the fruit. These larvae eat through the fruit, leaving a hole, which is a sign of damage.

Cucumber beetles are a very annoying pest. They can destroy an entire crop of cucumbers and other cucurbit crops in a matter of days. In fact, they are the most destructive insect pest to cucurbits. Cucumber beetles can eat their way through all parts of the plant including the fruit. If you are growing cucumbers for food, you have to control the cucumber beetles.

Do they have natural predators?

The cucumber beetle is an invasive pest that is a major pest of cucumbers and other plants. It has been in the United States since the 1970s and has been spreading rapidly since then. The problem is, it has no natural predators here. Cucumber beetles eat both the leaves and the fruit. In the case of the fruit, they are bad for the plant as they will stop the plant from growing and may even kill it.

What organic spray kills cucumber beetles?

I would use an organic spray that has Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) in it, but check your label before applying. The label should state Bt or Bacillus thuringiensis. The spray will kill the adult beetles as well as larvae. If you cannot find one with Bt on it, try spraying with pyrethrin or neem oil.

You can also spray them with an organic spray that says it's a mix of neem and pyrethrin. It is an oil-based product.

What are other ways of killing cucumber beetles?

Organic sprays can kill cucumber beetles, but they are not the only way to control them. Other methods include hand picking, traps and traps with sticky surfaces.

Will garlic spray deter cucumber beetles?

Yes it will as the beetles have a pretty strong sense of smell and will stay away from garlic. You can also add in hot peppers to make it even more effective.

What else can I use to repel them?

There are a number of things that work to repel them. This includes neem oil, peppermint and radishes. You can make a mixture with neem oil to apply around your cucumbers. As for the latter two you can grow them around your cucumbers as deterrents. Radishes in particular are very highly recommended as they do work exceptionally well in keeping cucumber beetles at bay.

Conclusion

Now that you’re aware of some simple and effective organic ways to get rid of cucumber beetles, you’ll now have a healthy and brimming garden. 

If you have any questions about the cucumber beetles or have more organic ways on how to get rid of them, comment below and share your ideas.

Remember, if you have this problem in your garden, simply do the following:

  • Identify if you have a cucumber beetle infestation.
  • Use one or all of the suggested organic ways to get rid of them provided above.
  • Repeat when necessary until you can see no signs of cucumber beetles anymore. 
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