Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Organic Cucumber Beetle Control

You know those small green and back beetles that look a little like an odd elongated ladybug?  I always squish them on sight!  When their numbers have gotten too large to squish them all, I take a big bowl of soapy water out in the early morning while it is still cool and damp and just after dark at night, and shake the infested plants over the bowl.  They fall in and drown! You might miss a few, but hopefully you'll get them next time around!  This is a little labor intensive but it does help immensely. 

Here are some other ideas I found on the Internet:

Aluminum foil:
Cover the ground under the plants with aluminum foil.  I have never tried this, but apparently they don’t like the bright reflective surface.  It also disrupts their life cycle.  Cucumber beetles lay their eggs in the soil near the stems of the plants, and the eggs hatch in the soil where the larva feed on the roots.  Spreading a little diatomaceous earth right at the base of the stems and soil and then covering the soil with foil ought to really help.   You might want to fold the foil pieces together where they join to make seams and use small rocks to hold them in place.   The foil may confuse pollinators, so I personally wouldn’t give this a try unless the beetles were a problem.

Yellow Sticky Traps:
Cucumber beetles are easily trapped in yellow sticky traps, which can be purchased or made from small pieces of wood or stiff plastic.  First  paint them bright yellow or orange--the color of squash blossoms is best.  Next cover with Tangle-Trap (available at nurseries and organic farm supply outlets). And then mount your sticky traps on stakes or hang them just above foliage level.   During the warm dry part of the day deploy your soapy water and shake the plants.  Some will fall into your soapy water and some will fly to the sticky traps.  The sticky traps will also catch cabbage moths and white fly.  However, they can also catch beneficial insects and pollinators, so best not to put them out unless the pests are getting to be a problem.  

Also, providing habitat for wasps, lizards, frogs, toads, and birds is supposed to help!

If you have tried any of these tips or if you have other organic cucumber beetle strategies, please feel free to tell us all about it in comments! 

No comments: