Pests in the Garden-Striped Cucumber Beetle

Installment #4


Striped Cucumber Beetle

The Striped Cucumber Beetle (SCB), Acalymma vittattum (Fab.), is one of the most devastating pests of cucurbits (cucumbers, summer and winter squashes, all types of melons and pumpkins) east of the Rocky Mountains. Both adults and larvae feed on cucurbit crops. This insect is also responsible for the spread of plant diseases such as bacterial wilt and cucumber mosaic. Cantaloupe and muskmelons are especially vulnerable to bacterial wilt spread by the beetles.

The adult beetle is 1/4 inch long and yellow-green in color with black longitudinal stripes. Eggs are small and orange-to-yellow in color. The worm-like larva is slender, white, and about 1/3 inch long when full-grown.

Life Cycle
The Striped Cucumber Beetle overwinters as an unmated adult in the neighboring areas of old cucurbit patches, under fallen leaves, in hedgerows, near their wild food sources (goldenrod, aster) and in gar­den debris. The adults emerge in the early spring before cucurbits are available as food, feeding on pollen, petals, and leaves of alternative hosts.

Depending on geographic region and weather conditions, New Hampshire gardens may experience one, two or even three generations of CB in any given season.

Striped Cucumber Beetle Damage

Prevention and non-chemical control
Rotate cucurbit crops to a new place in the garden each year. Deprive adult beetles of homes for over­wintering by removing crop residues and alternative host plants such as asters and goldenrod from around the garden.

Do not use insecticides while cucurbit crops are in bloom. Most insecticides are hazardous to bees. An exception is Surround, which doesn’t kill insects, but instead is designed to plug up taste and smell receptors that pests use to confirm identity of plants before feeding on them. In some areas striped cu­cumber beetle has become resistant to chemical insecticides

Feel free to continue the conversation and add your own discoveries on pest control by leaving a comment. If you have had great success with a particular organic method, let us know what worked for you! Thanks!

The information above was gleaned from the UNH Cooperative Extension Website  a GREAT resource!


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