To be a great gardener, you should know the actual enemies of your plants. For instance, cucumber beetles are dreaded pests that devastate cucurbit crops. Therefore, it is time to discover 24 tips on how to get rid of cucumber beetles in the garden.
Tiny spotted and striped cucumber beetles kill cucurbits such as zucchini, pumpkins, watermelons, cucumbers, squash, and melons.
While striped cucumber beetles only gorge on cucurbit plants, the spotted ones also eat other crops.
Furthermore, if you are battling against cucumber beetles, this post will come in handy. It helps you recognize, prevent, and eradicate them in your garden.
Table of Contents
- The Detection of Cucumber Beetles
- Cucumber Beetles Life Cycle
- How to Get Rid of Cucumber Beetles Naturally
- 1. Introduce Natural Predators of Cucumber Beetles
- 2. Utilize Neem Oil for Cucumber Beetles
- 3. Grow Trap Crops
- 4. Stick with Transplants
- 5. Vacuum the Pests
- 6. Cover Cucurbits with Row Covers
- 7. Set Up a Cucumber Beetle Trap
- 8. Use Kaolin Clay for Cucumber Beetle
- 9. Delay Planting
- 10. Remove Cucumber Beetle Eggs
- 11. Use Molt-X
- 12. Companion Planting
- 13. Rely on Straw Mulch
- 14. Rotate the Crops
- 15. Garlic and Hot Pepper
- 16. Use a Baking Soda Solution
- 17. Apply Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
- 18. Insecticidal Soap
- 19. Wood Ash and Lime
- 20. Beauveria Bassiana
- 21. Shake Cucumber Beetles Off
- 22. Set Up DIY Traps
- 23. Till the Garden
- 24. Spinosad
- Final Thoughts
The Detection of Cucumber Beetles
Before learning how to control cucumber beetles naturally, you have to identify cucumber beetle infestation.
Thus, there are unmistakable signs of cucumber beetle damage as follow.
- Wilting and Yellowing Leaves
Cucumber beetle larvae chew on the cucurbits’ roots. The adults cause more plant damage since they consume leaves.
Also, they stunt the growth of cucurbit plants.
If the leaves turn yellow and wilt, there is a cucumber beetle problem. In addition, cucumber beetles usually feed on seedling stems and create leaf holes.
- Fruits Have Pock Marks and Scars
Undoubtedly, cucumber beetles can lower fruit production because they dine on flowers. Their direct feeding also leaves unsightly pock marks and scars on fruits.
Cucumber beetles alone usually will not destroy cucurbit plants or cause critical damage. However, they can kill cucurbits by spreading bacterial wilt.
Apart from transmitting bacterial diseases, these pests carry mosaic viruses.
Cucumber Beetles Life Cycle
After finding out what do cucumber beetles eat, you must know the life cycle of pesky cucumber beetles.
Additionally, they can live for 4-8 weeks.
The adults overwinter in woody areas, trash heaps, and compost. Furthermore, their diseases can overwinter internally.
These formidable creatures pass diseases onto other crops the next spring via fecal matter.
Adult cucumber beetles emerge from their hibernating sites in April-June. They then munch on seedlings and kill them.
While the females of spotted cucumber beetles lay 200-300 eggs, the striped ones can produce nearly 1500 eggs.
As soon as cucumber beetle eggs hatch, they start gorging on the foliage of the cucurbit plants. They will turn into pupae within 14 days.
The larvae consume the cucurbits’ roots. As they evolve into adults (July-September), they will eat the leaves of the host plants again in addition to fruits and vines.
Usually, they give the rind deep marks.
How to Get Rid of Cucumber Beetles Naturally
Now that you have learned about the cucumber beetle life cycle, you should eliminate cucumber beetles soon.
Moreover, here is a roundup of home remedies and organic control methods to try.
1. Introduce Natural Predators of Cucumber Beetles
Talking about surefire cucumber beetle organic control methods, try utilizing beneficial insects.
Likewise, they act as cucumber beetle predators.
For example, ladybugs are excellent at controlling pesky garden insects like cucumber beetles. Not only do they feed on cucumber beetle eggs, but also they prevent an outbreak.
If you buy ladybugs, keep them in a refrigerator.
Next, set these insects free in the garden after dusk or before dawn. This trick will prolong their life.
For a small garden, you need to introduce 2,000 ladybugs.
2. Utilize Neem Oil for Cucumber Beetles
Neem oil acts as a fab natural insecticide. Moreover, it comes from the neem tree seeds. To make the solution, mix 1 liter of water with 5ml of neem oil and 2ml of dish soap.
Before spraying this natural insecticide on cucumber beetle-infested plants, shake it well.
The neem oil repels many bothersome insects. Furthermore, they prevent unwanted fungal plant diseases.
In addition, it keeps some viruses and other plant diseases from spreading out.
3. Grow Trap Crops
This method helps you trick troublesome plant pests. Attract the garden pests to trap crops, so crucial crops stay undamaged.
An excellent cucumber beetle trap crop is blue hubbard squash. Likewise, it lures in squash bugs and other annoying pests of cucumbers too.
Further, it is advisable to grow blue hubbard squash at the corners of the garden.
This technique will prevent cucumber beetles from migrating to principal crops. You can also plant trap crops at the valuable crop’s perimeter.
4. Stick with Transplants
Using transplants is better than planting seeds. Besides, it gives protection to vulnerable seedlings. Transplanting cucurbit plants drives black and yellow striped cucumber beetles away.
Remember, early sprouts are more prone to bacterial wilt than larger plants.
By transplanting the cucurbits, you can get cucumber beetles in the ground once the last frost has passed.
5. Vacuum the Pests
If you hate all things tedious, try vacuuming the cucumber beetles. To get rid of these harmful beetles naturally, use a handheld vacuum.
Furthermore, it will suck them up in no time.
After vacuuming the bothersome beetles, empty the vacuum by disposing of them in a sealable bag.
6. Cover Cucurbits with Row Covers
To keep cucumber beetles out, use barriers like row covers to protect cucurbit seedlings. They let water and light seep while repelling the pests.
Moreover, row covers work as small greenhouses.
Cucumber beetles should have no access to the plants by securing the edges of row covers. Uncover the rows once the plants produce blooms.
Removing the row covers allows for pollination. For magnificent results, do this trick several hours a day.
7. Set Up a Cucumber Beetle Trap
Sometimes, gardeners wonder how to get rid of cucumber beetles in the garden. Therefore, try using yellow sticky traps since cucumber beetles love all things yellow.
They will help you catch cucumber beetles and other troublesome pests.
As soon as you spot the cucumber beetle infestation, grab the yellow sticky traps. Next, border the garden with them.
You can use the traps to monitor the garden’s overall health.
These vibrant traps hold cucumber beetles for disposal. In addition, they catch all kinds of formidable insects.
8. Use Kaolin Clay for Cucumber Beetle
To make a sprayable solution, combine 1 gallon of water with 3 cups of kaolin clay. Moreover, this substance creates a white barrier surface on the plants.
Since cucumber beetles hate it, the solution ensures they will not lunch on host plants and lay eggs.
Then, apply kaolin clay safely to your cucurbit plants. Cleanse the fresh produce thoroughly before consuming them.
9. Delay Planting
Cucumber beetles are a sucker for vulnerable cucurbit seedlings. Plant cucurbits late, so the neighbors’ gardens will draw the beetles in.
As a result, your crops remain undamaged.
When cucurbit plants are healthy and growing, they fool the pests into thinking you have no crops in your garden.
This trick encourages cucumber beetles to go out of the gardens naturally. Therefore, start the seedlings indoors and set the plants out once they get bigger and more vigorous.
10. Remove Cucumber Beetle Eggs
The eggs of cucumber beetles on host plants are easy to recognize. Additionally, removing them is critical.
First, you have to cut egg clusters from the affected foliage. This technique keeps the eggs from hatching and developing the infestation.
Then, inspect the undersides of cucurbit leaves. Also, do not forget to check the plant’s stalks and pick cucumber beetle eggs off.
11. Use Molt-X
Molt-X is a fabulous botanical insecticide for cucumber beetle control. Besides, it has a super potent insect-active compound called azadirachtin.
This insecticide keeps cucumber beetles from feeding on cucurbits.
It becomes a reliable repellent. Moreover, you can either apply Molt-X directly into the soil or spray it.
Once the soil absorbs the Molt-X, cucumber beetles will digest and eventually die off.
Additionally, it contains properties that hinder the upcoming hatching of cucumber beetle eggs. You can buy Molt-X from nearby gardening stores or purchase it online.
12. Companion Planting
Companion planting is a foolproof way to get rid of cucumber beetles. Hence, grow companion plants alongside or in between cucurbit rows.
Try growing plants that repel cucumber beetles. Radishes, marigolds, onions, nasturtiums, catnip, and tansy drive bothersome beetles away.
Therefore, you must add these companion plants to your cucurbit area.
13. Rely on Straw Mulch
Place mulch around cucumber beetle-infested plants. This simple trick enables you to control cucumber beetles naturally.
Straw mulch is not only a natural deterrent but also attracts wolf spiders.
Since the spiders love it, they will build a nest. They defend your cucurbit plants by feeding on cucumber beetles.
Add an inch-tall layer of mulch 2-3 inches back from garden plants. However, the mulch should not be in contact with the foliage and stems of cucurbits.
14. Rotate the Crops
Crop rotation is crucial. Regardless of how much tiling and preparation work you do, some cucumber beetle larvae may hatch.
To prevent the infestation, give crop rotation a try.
Further, this solution keeps you from planting cucurbits directly into soils featuring overwintering populations.
15. Garlic and Hot Pepper
Use a spicy repellent to deter cucumber beetles from attacking the cucurbit plants. First, crush six cloves of garlic.
Next, mix it with 1 gallon of hot water, a tbs of liquid soap, and a tbs of hot pepper.
Before straining the mixture and pouring it into the bottle, let the solution sit for approximately 24 hours.
Since the solution gives off an unpleasant taste and smell, it will drive the beetles away.
16. Use a Baking Soda Solution
If you wonder does baking soda kill cucumber beetles, the answer is yes. Make a baking soda solution to keep cucumber beetles in check.
Combine 1 gallon of water with a tbs of baking soda. Then, spray the solution preemptively once per week.
17. Apply Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Only use a few insecticides on cucurbits since they are super sensitive. Utilize them when the crops are starting to appear.
DE is very similar to Sevin dust. Furthermore, this fine white non-toxic powder is lethal to cucumber beetles.
Spread DE around young cucurbits to eliminate existing beetles. Also, it keeps the new ones from hatching for good.
Additionally, DE is ideal for organic gardens.
You must wear a mask during the insecticide application, though. To make a DIY cucumber beetle spray, combine 1 gallon of water with a ½ cup of DE.
18. Insecticidal Soap
Bonide is one of the tremendous insecticidal soaps. It is suitable for organic gardening too. You can follow the package instructions or create a homemade mixture.
If you choose the latter, combine three tbs of vegetable oil with three tbs of insecticidal soap and 1 gallon of water.
19. Wood Ash and Lime
Mix 1 oz of powdered hydrated lime with 1 gallon of water and oz of wood ash. Put the solution in spray bottles.
The mixture is effective against cucumber beetles.
20. Beauveria Bassiana
Utilize this fungus to ward off cucumber beetles and other soft-bodied pests. It appears whitish at the beginning.
The fungus will stick to the bodies of cucumber beetles and kill them within 7-14 days.
21. Shake Cucumber Beetles Off
Put cardboard under the affected plant. Next, shake the plant lightly to knock the pests to the ground.
Try using petroleum jelly-covered yellow gloves to handpick the pests with ease. For disposal, place the beetles into a sealable bag.
22. Set Up DIY Traps
Create a DIY trap by gluing cotton to the yellow plastic cup’s bottom. Then, give it 2-3 drops of clove oil.
Next, install a wooden post and attach the cup to it horizontally. Lastly, cover the cup with non-drying glue.
23. Till the Garden
Till the ground in late fall. This technique lets you expose the pests to natural predators and extreme weather conditions.
After the fall harvest, do not forget to get rid of debris.
Monterey contains spinosad. Thus, this natural insect spray helps you eradicate cucumber beetle larvae.
Furthermore, it gives the beetles nervous system problems, so they cannot move.
Cucumber beetles may look unintimidating. However, they can sap the life out of cucurbit plants. Even if you have no cucurbits, remember that the spotted ones are not picky.
Once the signs of an infestation appear, cucumber beetles usually will transmit bacterial wilt.
Be prepared and eliminate them naturally. Hopefully, with those pest deterrents, you can win the war.