Cucumber Beetle, bacterial wilt

Asked July 16, 2017, 9:51 AM EDT

Hello, This summer, my cucumber plants have not grown as "big" as usual. I normally get tons and tons of cucumbers by now but have only harvested about 3 so far. I noticed a lot of wilting leaves and found some cucumber beetles around (which I never had before). The wilting leaves are on several plants while others show no signs. Will the wilt spread to the other plants? Can I expect to get any cucumbers this summer? And how do I prevent this next year.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

When cucumber beetles feed on cucumbers (and zucchini) they pass a disease called bacterial wilt. It sounds like you are seeing symptoms of this. Diseased plants should be removed and discarded. There is no "cure" once you see the wilting.

For next year, look for the variety of cucumber called 'County Fair.' It has wilt resistance. Also, we recommend that you cover your plants with a floating row cover fabric up until they bloom. This will exclude the beetles from feeding and spreading the disease. Here is additional information on what you can do: https://extension.umd.edu/growit/insects/cucumber-beetles-spotted-or-striped

And here is information on how to use floating row covers: https://extension.umd.edu/growit/beyond-basics/floating-row-cover

ckc