June 10, 2008

Ahhhh! My garden has been infested with striped cucumber beetles! Here’s a picture of the damned bug:

I noticed them last night when I was inspecting my garden. There was a lot of leaf damage on all of my curcubits and I was trying to figure out what had done it. I scooped up two that were mating, took them to work and found out (to my dismay) that they are striped cucumber beetles. 😦

Here’s just a small sample of their destruction:

I read up on these little buggers and started to lose hope. After mating, females lay their eggs in the soil at the base of the plant. The larvae hatch in a week and begin feeding on the roots and stems of the plant. After two months they pupate and the adults start feeding on the vines, foliage, flowers and fruit of the plant. Not only that, these little f%@&#%* spread bacterial wilt to cucumbers and muskmelons. Prevention and non-chemical control involves rotating cucurbit crops each year, covering with floating row covers, applying a heavy mulch or picking them off by hand (difficult as these guys fly). The chemical option is to use Rotenone, something that I am loathe to do.

It’s looking like I’m going to have to rip these plants out and not have any fresh zucchini, cucumber or melons at my home garden this year.



I called a local organic gardening centre and they said to use Safer’s Trounce or to plant radishes near the area.  I mentioned Rotenone and they said they don’t carry it anymore as it was linked to Alzheimer’s.  So, Trounce it is!


6 Responses to “Infested!”

  1. Raceytay Says:

    Oh man, Kathy, that’s horrible. The slugs are bad enough, but easily dealt with. Raccoons (my current problem) don’t seem quite so evil right now.

    Can you put more melons in the ground in containers? This is something I’ve been thinking about doing – hiding the containers at night from said Raccoons. One of the growers at the North Gower Farmers’ Market mentioned it wasn’t too late to put more seeds out…?

  2. Amy Says:

    I’m guessing DE wouldn’t work, but you might try nematodes to kill the eggs underground. Maybe something like neem oil to make the leave less tasty?

  3. Kathy Says:

    Hi Raceytay, I could do that but this is the second set-back I’ve had on the cucurbits this year. The first one was my fault for putting them out so early and letting them get frost damage. But striped cucumber beetles? What the hell! I’ve never had them before and now they just suddenly appear? And, I just put the replacement cucurbit seedlings outside to harden off last week and they might be infested as well. I got my partner to bring them indoors today but it’ll be nearly two months before I know if they’re infested or not. Blech.

    Hi Amy, what’s DE? I did read about nematodes but I think I’m going to have a serious look at this Trounce stuff.

    Thanks guys, this is pretty discouraging.

  4. Nancy Bond Says:

    Little beggars! What a shame. I’m afraid that I’d be going the chemical route for something like that — something *I* am loathe to do, also, but sometimes it’s the only way to rid yourself of the critters. Good luck!

  5. Raceytay Says:

    I’ve used Trounce before with success. Their sulphur as well. You might want to throw in some Chrysanthemums along with radishes. Of the two active ingredients in the Trounce, one is pyrethins, made from Chrysanthemum.

    I’ve also planted Marigolds and Nasturtium, hoping they’d help (the jury is still out). A good list of companion plants can be found here:

    I think the links made the comment not work, so I removed the http part. Sorry if you see this comment twice.

  6. Jon Says:

    DE is Diatomecous Earth. I recently “discovered” it for getting rid of clover/spider mites, and a light dusting is all thats needed and it is good as long as it is actually present AND dry. When it gets wet it loses it pesticide properties, but those properties return when dry.

    From wikipedia, “it absorbs lipids from the cuticle, the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate. Arthropods die as a result of the water pressure deficiency.”

    It did work for me as long as it was dry. It is potentially an irritant to people if inhaled and can dry out hands if handled excessively without gloves.

    Pool type DE is not recommended for this.

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