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!