In this discourse, I will be giving you tips on how to get rid of cucumber beetles.
Aren’t you just tired of having your cucumbers, squash, eggplants, and melons attacked by cucumber beetles? Imagine all the work you put in growing these fruits only for them to be damaged by these unruly pests.
I know how you feel, but not to worry, there are several means by which you can catch, kill, or repel them.
About Cucumber Beetles
Adult cucumber beetles are pests that attack the flowers, leaves, and the fruit of cucumbers, melons, beans, corn, asparagus, and eggplants. The young beetles feed on the roots of the same plants.
This will leave your plants and fruit looking unpleasant, and root attack by young larvae can cause your tree to be malnourished.
This is not the only problem with cucumber beetles, they also carry cucumber bacterial wilt and cucumber mosaic which is bad for the health of your trees, especially the cucumbers, as they are the ones affected the most.
Both the wilt and mosaic can survive inside the beetle’s digestive system and it is spread as the pest moves from one plant to the other to feast.
If any of your plants are infected by the wilt or mosaic, it will never be the same again. The infection is incurable and the plant will die.
Cucumber beetles are attracted to bright yellowish or yellow-green colors, hence their interest in cucumbers ad other greenish-yellow fruits.
How To Get Rid Of Cucumber Beetles
Luckily, there are different means by which you can eliminate cucumber beetles. I will discuss them below.
Use Natural Predators
One of the most natural ways to tackle a cucumber beetle infestation is by introducing natural predators into your garden. Several insects would love to munch on these beetles.
These insects include soldier beetles, ground beetles, and tachinid flies. Frogs and lizards also love to feast on insects and wouldn’t mind a cucumber beetle diet.
These predators will naturally make their way into your garden if there are many cucumber beetles there. However, waiting for them to arrive may not be the wise option, as the beetles will be busy eating up your plants and spreading wilt and mosaic infections.
You can visit a nursery and buy some of these natural cucumber beetle predators and let them loose in your garden. They will do the rest.
Any of the above-listed predators will do, but keep in mind, that some of the predators like frogs and lizards will eat the beneficial insects too.
This would not be so much of a problem since they are doing the same job.
One of the major advantages of this approach is that it is 100% natural and it will not harm your plants or the ecosystem.
You can catch cucumber beetles by setting simple traps.
These pests are attracted to bright yellowish/greenish colors, so you can use this knowledge to trap them.
The adult bugs will climb up your trees to eat the fruits and leaves, and this is where you can get them.
You can use sticky glue board traps to control the activities of the cucumber beetles. Buy as many as necessary and place them around your plants. You can place some on the garden floor and hang some on the tree branches.
As the bugs move around in search of plants to eat, they will eventually crawl on top of the board and be stuck. They are not strong enough to pull away from the glue trap and they will be at your mercy.
Check on your glue traps every morning to see the catch. If a board is full, you can empty it and return it to where it was.
Luckily, the glue traps are reusable, you will need to catch a few sets of cucumber beetles before the glue starts to wear off.
You can also set a water bottle trap and catch the beetles. All you will need is a few transparent plastic water bottles, some vinegar, and some liquid soap.
Make a mixture of vinegar and mild liquid soap and pour it into the transparent plastic bottle. You should fill the plastic bottle about halfway so there will be space for a good number of bugs to be held.
Get some strings and tie up the bottles on the branches of the trees the beetles will like to target. Keep the bottles very close to the fruits to increase your chances of catching them.
As the beetles creep from one branch to the other in search of leaves and fruits to bite, they will creep into your bottle trap but won’t be able to get out. This is because their legs will be soaked in sticky soap and they will not be able to climb out.
The more they struggle to get out, the more fatigued they become. They will eventually drown in the process.
To make the trap more attractive to them, you can use flavored liquid soap, so the sweet scent can lure them in. You can also squeeze some cucumber juice into the bottle since it is one of their favorites.
This method may be slow, but it will help reduce the number of cucumber beetles you have to deal with. Remember, it takes just one cucumber beetle to spread wilt and mosaic all across your garden, so every catch is a big win for you.
Trapping the bugs is a very safe way to rid your garden of cucumber beetles. This method has no negative effect on your garden or its immediate environments.
Use Plants That Repel Then
Another natural option with which you can use to get rid of cucumber beetles is plant repellents. Luckily, several plants can repel cucumber beetles.
Nasturtiums are one of such plants. You can plant them around your cucumber plants to keep the beetles away.
Onions are another plant that can help you chase away cucumber beetles. Onions have quite a strong odor, and not too many bugs can stand it.
Cucumber Beetles will be repelled by onions and they will stay away from your plants. The strong odor can also mask the scent of your cucumbers and eggplants, and this will confuse the beetles.
You can plant some onions around your cucumber plants and any other plants the beetles love to eat.
Garlic is another plant that can repel and mask the scent of your cucumbers and other host plants. Plant some around the target crops and allow the garlic to do the rest.
One of the strongest smelling plants in the world is garlic. The aroma can be nice if used moderately in cooking but can be very irritating when too much of it is used.
Planting any one of the above-mentioned trees in your cucumber garden will repel the cucumber beetles and they will have to go somewhere else for food.
Use An Organically Made Pesticide
Organic pesticides are also a good way to repel and kill cucumber beetles. Garlic is one of the strongest ingredients you can have in your organic pesticide solution.
All you will need is a few cloves of garlic and some water. Grind the garlic into a powdery form and add it to some water. Mix thoroughly so it is well blended then pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
Visit the plants where the beetles are active and spray the garlic directly on the plants and on the beetles. Garlic has a strong, repelling scent that cucumber beetles (and almost every insect in the world) cannot stand.
If you want to make the effects a lot harsher, then you can add some cayenne pepper to the garlic powder solution. You can also add some mild liquid soap (one that will not harm your trees).
To tackle the cucumber beetle larvae that prefer eating roots, you can use Neem oil or a neem oil based pesticide to get rid of them. Applying neem oil around the soil of your cucumber, eggplants, or any other target plants will keep the larvae away from the roots.
Neem oil is a very powerful oil that can hinder the bug’s ability to grow. It can also cause it to lose its appetite and hinder its ability to produce and lay eggs.
With such a devastating effect on cucumber beetles, neem oil organic pesticide remains a safe and effective option for fighting cucumber beetles in the garden.
Similar to the use of natural predators to kill cucumber beetles, using pesticides will also kill beneficial insects. You have to keep this in mind before you apply any in your garden.
If cucumber beetles are not removed from your garden, they will damage your plants and spread the wilt and mosaic, which the trees cannot recover from.
Follow the tips above to get rid of them.
I trust this article on how to get rid of cucumber beetles has been helpful.