Options for taking care of striped cucumber beetles

Asked June 17, 2013, 2:38 PM EDT

I'm trying to find out more about how to keep my squash plants from being eaten by striped cucumber beetles. Every year they find my squash, cucumbers, and pumpkin plants within hours of being planted - though I'm thoughtful of rotating my locations. What managment options are there?

Cayuga County New York

1 Response

It seems that the beetles are well established in your area. Rotating crops work when there are no reservoir plants near by which can support the population when your plants are not available. Since the beetles are good fliers, you may need to locate the reservoir plants and manage them as well. There are trap plants which are more attractive to the beetles than your crops, so you might consider planting some of them. You need to be careful with which one you use since some are reservoirs for bacteria and viruses which could be transmitted to your plants.

One thing you can do is cover your seedling with a tunnel cover of some kind to allow them to get large enough to withstand the occasional attack.

Depending on how severe the attacks are and whether you have more than one insect attacking, you may need to use a pesticide.

I suggest you take a few beetles to you local extension office to make sure you only have one species and ask them for some suggestions. They will be more familiar with the pests in your county and will be able to give you more assistance on this problem.

Also, if you do a search for striped cucumber beetle, you will find more details on the other beetles which may attack and the diseases they can transmit. You will also find information on trap crops and other methods to deal with this pest.
Here are a few to get you started. Most of what I have found seem to be similar to what is found in CCE fact sheets on the problem.