Cucumber beetles and wilt

Asked July 2, 2015, 7:13 AM EDT

We planted Poona Kheera heirloom cucumbers which have been growing great and prolifically until they recently began to have wilting leaves, I have read that the feces of the cucumber beetle causes bacterial wilt. I have seen striped beetles and have killed a few, but they are hard to find. I sprayed BT several days ago but the problem persists and is getting worse. Please advise me what to do about the beetles. Is there anything to overcome the bacteria in the plants and in the soil, which I understand can remain for several years. Will spraying with anti-bacterial soap do anything at all? Thank you for all you do.

Knox County Tennessee fruits and vegetables insect issues horticulture

1 Response

Cucumber wilt is a bacterial problem and is spread by a cucumber beetle feeding on an infected plant and them spreading it to another plant in its mouth parts. The control would be to control the beetles with a pyretheroid chemical. BT would not do it. Permethrin and bifenthrin are examples. It is not soil borne so you do not need to do anything to the soil. Anti-bacterial soap would not be an appropriate treatment.