So, your cucurbit plant harvest this year is swarming with these tiny black and yellow beetles.
And you’re freaking out over it.
You’ll do anything to save your crops and get rid of these striped cucumber beetles.
After all, that’s all YOUR hard work that went into the plants this season. Those are your edibles, after all. Right?
These buggers can destroy your younger plants and result in a failed crop yield. They don’t go away on their own. And they love to breed as much as they like to eat.
Thankfully, you’re doing your research (which is why you’re here) to eradicate them for good. Permanently.
In this guide, we’ll talk about:
- How to identify a striped cucumber beetle
- Signs of cucumber beetle damage
- How to get rid of cucumber beetles organically
- How to keep them away from your cucurbit plants
- Common pesticides that work
- And more
By the end of this page, you should have a solid foundation to control and eliminate these pests.
And if you have any questions, post a comment and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
Feel free to bookmark this page, because it’s quite detailed and so you can easily jump back for reference.
Sound good? Let’s get those cucumber beetles out.
What’s a striped cucumber beetle?
Striped cucumber beetles are small pests about 7mm in length with a striking patterning on their backs (elytra).
They have yellow wing covers with black stripes going down their posterior.
These bugs are easy to identify but hard to control.
They’ll eat up melons, tomatoes, pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, and even bean plants! They’re fully capable of ruining your harvest.
You may spot adults chewing up your plant leaves, stems, or flowers all day long in the summertime while the larvae consume the plant roots.
These are very destructive pests that can reduce plant harvest and even kill younger veggies.
Because of the variance in patterning, this beetle has picked up a few different nicknames throughout the US.
Here are some other aliases that refer to the same pest:
- Cucumber beetle
- Western corn rootworm (mistakenly)
- Striped beetle
- Spotted cucumber beetle
- Spotted beetle
- Black and yellow beetle
Striped cucumber beetles are known for their most distinguishable feature- the stripes going down their backs.
They have alarming colorations, such as black and yellow, that may make them seem dangerous. Each beetle has visible legs and a pair of long antennae in the front. The legs may be yellow or black patterned.
The larvae of cucumber beetles are about 9mm in length, with creamy white coloration. They have dark heads with three pairs of legs.
You’ll rarely see the larvae as they eat at the plant under the soil. But if you see adults, you probably have some cucumber beetle larvae eating the host plant.
Striped beetles vs. spotted cucumber beetles
These are both considered to be cucumber beetles- but with slightly different appearances and habitats.
They’re both destructive to cucurbit plants and will consume the vegetation.
You can tell the difference by looking for these phenotypes:
- Striped beetles have elongated stripes going down their back wing covers and black abdomens.
- Spotted cucumber beetles have black circles all over their back (12 to be exact)
That’s the major difference and easiest way to tell them apart.
Regardless of which one you’re dealing with, the home remedies to get rid of cucumber beetles remain largely the same. Act quickly to save your plants.
Striped cucumber beetles have a basic lifecycle just like any other beetle.
Adults survive the winter by overwintering (winter hibernation) near the host plants of their current generation. When temperatures pick up again in the early spring, they emerge and will quickly seek out young seedlings plants to consume.
During this time, they’ll eat, mate, and lay eggs all around the host plants. This continues throughout June and July. The eggs will hatch and the larvae dig under the soil near the host plants and eat the plant roots for 2-4 weeks.
They’ll then undergo pupation and turn into adult beetles capable of flight. Striped cucumber beetles will eat up plants as an adult and larvae. The larvae target plant roots while the adults eat foliage and flowers.
Larvae emerge in august and continue to remain active until September.
After September ends, the adults overwinter near field edges of host plants once again.
The adults seek new sites to infest after they come out in the springtime. The cycle then repeats.
Striped cucumber beetles can lay dozens of eggs very quickly. This can lead to crop damage from the direct feeding on cotyledons and stems which results in failed harvests. They can also bring bacteria and wilt.
Where do cucumber beetles lay their eggs?
Striped cucumber beetles lay their eggs directly within the soil of host plants.
Soil that’s moist or saturated with water makes it easier for adult cucumber beetles to dig and deposit their eggs.
Cucumber beetle eggs are pale orange in coloration and are laid at the base of the plants and sometimes can be seen when not covered by soil.
The eggs are laid during mating season when they’re most active (June) and hatch shortly afterward. The eggs can be seen with the naked eye and are found in clusters at the plant base.
Do cucumber beetles fly?
Striped cucumber beetles are capable of flight.
This is bad for farmers and gardeners because the ability to fly allows cucumber beetles to quickly move from cucurbit to cucurbit to breed, deposit eggs, or eat the foliage.
These pests are always on the move and rarely settle for a single plant if excess amounts are available. Only the larvae will feed off of a host plant while the adults fly between plants. For flying adults, sticky tape and sticky traps can be useful to lure and catch them.
Where do cucumber beetles come from?
Striped cucumber beetles live all across the US.
The striped and spotted variants both feed on similar plant foliage, such as leaves, stems, flowers, and ripe fruits of cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, and melon plants. They migrate from the southern states in late June to early July.
As they migrate because of the nomadic lifestyle, they’ll come into your garden and feed on your plants if they happen to find them. There’s no way to surely prevent them from coming into your yard.
But you can control, manage, and eliminate them once they do come to your property.
There are also DIY remedies you can practice to help keep them off your cucurbit plants, such as companion planting, trap planting, using sprays, essential oils, or even row coverings.
There’s plenty you can do to protect your crop yield.
What does cucumber beetle damage look like?
Striped cucumber beetles leave behind significant damage in their wake.
The adult beetles overwinter so the cold doesn’t kill them. And when temperatures pick up and springtime comes, they come out of the woodwork and start a feeding frenzy.
Cucumber beetles are most active during the springtime similar to most other beetle species.
Cucumber beetle damage can be spotted by visible beetles munching on the leaves, petals, and stems of flowering cucurbit plants in the garden.
Adults are seen eating the foliage above the soil line and can also eat mature and ripened fruit. Beetle larvae are hidden under the soil and will feed on the plant roots. They tunnel underground to feed and protect themselves from predators.
So you have cucumber larvae eating your cucurbit under the soil and you have adults eating the leaves, stems, petals, and foliage above the soil line. yikes.
They can quickly locate plants even after they’ve been moved or transplanted. A gardener typically sows the seeds indoors throughout late winter or early spring for planting.
The seeds are protected indoors during this time. But once they’re transplanted outside, the cucumber beetles will find the flowering plants and begin their destruction all summer long. The timing of the beetle’s active period during the year matches perfectly with the host plants they feed off of.
Evolution has worked well in their favor. The cucumber beetle has 3 full generations to feed on growing plants in southern states.
Northern states have 1 or 2. Since they have multiple chances to eat and destroy crops, this can very well kill your cucurbit seedlings.
Do cucumber beetles bite humans?
Cucumber beetles don’t bite, sting, or poison humans. They’re harmless, but annoying creatures.
Their main target is nothing other than your cucurbit plants (squash, melon, cucumber, corn, eggplant, tomato, etc.). If a striped cucumber beetle finds its way into your home, you can safely remove it the old fashioned way with a paper napkin (or shoe).
They also don’t bring any diseases to humans, unlike other “dirty” beetles like dung beetles.
However, cucumber beetles DO bring diseases to your plants. They’re capable of transferring bacterial wilt and cucumber mosaic quickly among all your plants.
So even though they’re harmless to humans, they should be handled quickly to protect plants.
Are cucumber beetles bad?
Yes, cucumber beetles are NOT a beneficial insect for anyone who’s growing cucurbit plants.
These little pests will spread bacterial disease, eat up your flowers, petals, foliage, and possibly kill your young plants.
You don’t want to just “leave them be” because this will bring you nothing but a failed harvest with a bunch of wilting plants from bacterial infestations. You must handle any striped cucumber beetle problem ASAP to prevent their dispersion among your plants.
Once a few are mating and laying thousands of eggs per day, your garden will be overrun with them. Cucumber beetles are regarded as a destructive pest and WILL eat up your veggies.
Are striped cucumber beetles poisonous?
Striped cucumber beetles aren’t poisonous.
Although they may appear alarming with their bright and distinct patterning on wings, these buggers are harmless to humans.
But the opposite is true for plants.
Even though they can’t sting or inject poisons, they can bring bacterial wilt disease and other nasty cucumber mosaics between plants.
So in other words, they’re harmless to us but very harmful to cucurbit plants.
What do cucumber beetles eat?
Striped cucumber beetles eat a variety of different vegetables.
Even though their name states “cucumber,” these vicious pests will consume and feed on many different types of plants.
Some of the most common vegetables were striped cucumber beetles are found are:
- Other melons
They breed quickly and can kill younger seedling plants.
They can also ruin harvests by producing stunt plant growth or failed plant blooms. Most of their damage comes from the bacteria they transfer between plants, such as cucumber mosaic or wilt.
This can make an entire harvest completely destroyed because of their quick reproduction, which can bring bacterial diseases to all your plants.
You must take action quickly and control them as soon as you notice signs of cucumber beetle damage in your yard.
Do cucumber beetles eat tomatoes?
Yes, striped cucumber beetles eat tomatoes.
They can also bring diseases between plants. Their young feed on the root systems. The adults feed on the leaves, stems, and fruits.
Cucumber beetles can destroy plants depending on how sensitive and tolerant the plant is. If the plant is young like a seedling, they can be killed by cucumber beetles.
Older plants are more tolerant. Bacterial wilt, mosaics, and other diseases can be dangerous for cucurbit plants.
Signs of cucumber beetles
Cucumber beetles eat a wide assortment of foliage and their damage can be easily seen.
Some common signs of cucumber beetle damage are the following:
- Damaged roots
- Holes in leaves
- Jagged leaf edges
- Drooping leaves
- Bacterial wilt
- Cucumber mosaic
- Failed or stunted blooms
How to get rid of striped cucumber beetles naturally
Striped cucumber beetles are difficult to control because they breed very quickly. This means a constant influx of both adult beetles who will eat up your plant leaves and flowers.
And then you also have cucumber beetle larvae that eat up your veggie roots. Both of these combined proves to be a devastating combo that can kill your cucurbit crops.
However, you can control and manage cucumber beetles with some natural, DIY home remedies. Always use organic control methods when possible.
A lot of people think you need poisonous compounds to eliminate these pests.
You can definitely get rid of cucumber beetles organically with the right home remedies.
After all, you’ll be eating your squash, melon, or cucumber so you’ll want to avoid dangerous compounds.
Here are some DIY pest control methods you can use to get rid of striped cucumber beetles naturally at home.
Use multiple techniques at the same time and see what works.
No single solution will work for all scenarios. Therefore, there is no “best” way to get rid of cucumber beetles. Anyone who claims this hasn’t been in the field enough.
Check new plants for beetles
To prevent cucumber beetles and other pests from invading your yard in the future, always check them for new signs of bugs. Always check the soil (and under it around the stem) for any beetle larvae.
Any type of cucurbit plant must be thoroughly examined- such as cucumber, melon, squash, corn, eggplant, and more. If a striped cucumber beetle gets into your garden from a newly purchased plant, it can migrate to your existing plants and infect them all.
This is why you always quarantine new plants. I’d suggest a minimum of 2 weeks with examinations every other day.
Here’s a resource you may find useful for plant quarantines.
Will soapy water kill cucumber beetles?
Soapy water can be an effective DIY pesticide for striped cucumber beetles.
You can mix 2 tablespoons of dish detergent with a quart of water. Swirl gently until it starts to form suds. Pour the mixture directly into a spray bottle.
Then spray it on any cucumber beetles you come across. It should kill them within seconds. You can add more soap if it doesn’t work.
Note that some plants are sensitive to soapy water and will need to be watered or washed after you spray. Don’t leave the soap on the plants after spraying. Always rinse afterward.
You can also use soap water to catch beetles. Just grab a large bucket and fill it up with the solution. Place the bucket right under the plant infested with cucumber beetles. Then shake the plant.
All the beetles will fall off into the bucket of dish detergent which will kill them.
Does neem oil kill striped cucumber beetles?
Neem oil will kill striped cucumber beetles on contact. It comes from the neem plant and is a fully natural or organic method to get rid of cucumber beetles.
The neem oil is very concentrated and will burn your plant if used in high dosages. This is why you need to make the solution powerful enough to kill beetles, but not overly powerful to kill your plants.
Cucurbit plants are extremely sensitive, so this makes using neem tricky.
Always test it on a single leaf before applying it to the entire plant. You need to give it a few days to see how it reacts.
Neem is also sticky and will leave a residue that’ll last for a few days if unwashed. For most plants, this is OK.
But for cucurbits, I’d suggest rinsing the plant right away after you spray the neem. Leaving it on the leaves may cause burning as it covers the leaf.
You can buy neem oil from specialty stores. It comes in a small bottle with highly concentrated portions, so you’ll need to dilute it accordingly.
There are many recipes for creating your own pest killer that you can use online. Always read all warnings before applying it.
Here’s a recipe video:
Use row covers
Row covers are a popular choice for keeping cucumber beetles out of your vegetables.
These are lengthy covers that look like half-sphere tunnels that completely cover your plants.
They will take some time to set up, as they need to fit snugly against the soil to shield your plants from pests.
However, once they’re up and running, they’re very effective at deterring beetles, aphids, flies, fleas, and other bugs.
There are plenty of video tutorials you can watch to learn how to use them properly, such as this one:
Row covers will need to be ordered to size.
They need to fit your row of plants perfectly or else it destroys the entire purpose. If installed incorrectly, cucumber beetles can dig under the soil and crawl into the inside of the cover, which then allows them to breed and makes it harder to spot them if they’re hiding under the material.
Striped cucumber beetles have many different natural predators that you can use to your benefit. These can help kill or bring down their population to keep them in check.
The trick is to find out what predators live in your area first, and then find out how to attract them.
There are some of the natural predators that eat striped cucumber beetles:
- Tachinid flies
- Assassin bugs
- Soldier beetles
- Braconid wasps
- Entomopathogenic nematodes
- Bacillus thuringiensis
Do some research on each of these predators and find out if you have them native near your home. If not, you can always order them online and dispatch them in your garden.
Ladybugs, for example, will eat up small pests and larvae without harming your veggies. They also leave on their own after there’s nothing left to eat and won’t infect your property.
You can buy them for cheap in bulk and dispatch them in small batches.
Make your own DIY cucumber beetle trap
You can make your own beetle trap at home with some basic materials. It should work just as well as a store-bought commercial trap, and you can keep it natural to avoid any toxic chemicals they use.
The simplest beetle trap requires bait to lure the adult cucumber beetles to the trap. And it needs some way to trap them and stop them from getting out.
The easiest way to do this naturally is to use tanglefoot- a gardener’s favorite. This is a very sticky substance that’ll keep whatever bug that crawls on it from escaping.
You’ll have to buy this online as it’s hard to find unless you have a specialty greenery nearby.
You’ll also need bait to lure the striped cucumber beetles to the tanglefoot.
There are a few different lures you can use to attract cucumber beetles:
- Allspice oil
- Bay oil
- Clove oil
- Peppermint oil
You’ll also need something to build the trap with. Small plastic cups or water bottles work fine. And then you need a stake to jam the trap onto so it holds steady. And don’t forget some cutting tools (scissors), and some tape to finish the job.
Here’s a list of what you’ll to make your own striped beetle trap:
- A lure (allspice, bay, peppermint, or clove oil)
- A plastic party cup or water bottle
- Small garden stake
- Cotton balls
Here’s how you make the trap:
- Grab the cup or water bottle. If you’re using the bottle, cut the top off where the bottle starts to concave towards the cap. Use the tape and attach the bottle to the garden stake. The bottle should be secured at the height where the cucumber beetles are active. How you attach it doesn’t matter.
- Dip the cotton balls in the lure of your choice until they’re fully saturated with the oil.
- Take the cotton balls and tape them to the bottle on the inside and outside. You only need a few.
- Use the tanglefoot and apply it all over the bottle. Cover as much of the plastic as you can.
- Stake the trap nearby your cucurbit plants.
How the trap works:
- Adult flying striped cucumber beetles will detect the lure and fly to the bottle.
- They’ll walk on the tanglefoot and get stuck.
- They can’t escape so they’ll die.
- Replace the trap when the lure evaporates or when the trap is dirty with beetles.
- Build multiple traps and place them around your yard.
- These traps can also be used indoors.
- Keep people and plants away from the trap to avoid disturbance.
- Always read the safety labels of the things you use to create the trap.
How do you trap cucumber beetles?
Cucumber beetle traps can be purchased at your local hardware store or online. These are generally pretty pricey, ranging anywhere from $12-$25+ per trap. If you don’t have the time or energy, you can buy one of these traps. Read the package directions and use as directed.
Do cucumber beetle traps work?
It depends. How you use it, how it’s applied, and what your pest situation is all play a role. Rarely is any trap just set and forget. You need to assess the situation of the beetle infestation, then place the traps correctly. Don’t just hang them from any stake or branch. Place it where you suspect the beetles will discover but don’t make it too obvious to them. There’s a little creativity involved with these kinds of things.
Diatomaceous earth can be used to repel cucumber beetles. This is a naturally occurring powder that cuts up the exoskeleton and dehydrates many different pests.
Anything with a hard “shell” on the outside will be susceptible to this powder.
You can buy food-grade, natural diatomaceous earth at most specialty stores or online.
Be sure you buy FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth- NOT the one used for pools. There are different types. The pool-based DE is dangerous for edibles. The food-grade one isn’t quite as much.
Once you get the powder, placing it the key strategy to making it work. You want to use just enough- not too much or else the beetles may avoid contact with the powder. Where you sprinkle the powder matters.
Here are some key areas to cover:
- Line the perimeter of your cucurbit plant plot with a fine line of powder
- Sprinkle some diatomaceous earth directly on the soil surrounding your vulnerable plants
- Make a ring of powder circling the base of the plant
- Line the entire perimeter of your yard with DE
- Use the powder anywhere else you see cucumber beetle activity
Diatomaceous earth is safe for kids, pets, and people. I’d still suggest you wear proper PPE and keep people and animals away from it to avoid contact.
They may also disturb the placement and make it less effective at deterring cucumber beetles.
Use yellow sticky traps
Sticky traps can be very effective for catching cucumber beetles, but only if they’re applied correctly. You can buy a pack of sticky traps at any hardware store.
Most are hung on a stake or branch directly on your cucurbit plant, but some may have their own apparatus for hanging it.
Regardless, follow the package directions and use them as instructed. These traps are cheap, lightweight, and last a long time. They can catch beetles passively without you needing to do anything, so this is why many homeowners go this route.
Or try sticky tape
Just like sticky traps, there are also sticky tapes you can buy.
These are double-sided adhesives that you stuck onto plants, stakes, or surfaces to catch flying and crawling insects.
Bugs like cucumber beetles stand no chance as they waltz over the sticky surface and face their doom.
Sticky tape is cheap and you can find it in single or double rolls at most hardware stores.
You can stick it around the base of your cucurbit plant so that any beetle MUST crawl over it to get up your plant. You can even use multiple rings of tape around different stems, branches, and offshoots of the plant.
Don’t cover the leaves because the plant needs those to photosynthesize.
DIY tip: If you don’t want to apply the tape to the plant, set up four stakes in opposites to make a rectangle around your plant.
Then apply the sticky tape from each stake to make a barrier or tape. This will secure your plant from crawling insects that need to cross over the soil to get to your cucurbit.
Make sure the tape touches the soil surface so it stands up like a barrier and prevents the cucumber beetles from crawling under it.
A pretty nifty trick to get the most out of the sticky tape.
Control striped cucumber beetles with nematodes
Nematodes can be a very effective way to control cucumber beetles.
You can buy beneficial nematodes from online specialty stores.
They’ll come with directions on application- usually through a syringe. Read and follow directions.
Nematodes are generally safe for plants and edibles. They disrupt the cucumber beetle life cycle and effectively kill them for good until next season.
Here are a few types of nematodes good for killing cucumber beetles:
- Heterorhabditis bacteriophora
- Steinernema carpocapsae
- Steinernema feltiae
Beneficial nematodes can usually be used anytime during the year when cucumber beetles are active. Soil temperatures must remain above 51F during daytime cycles
Nematodes will kill cucumber beetles and make a safe alternative to commercial sprays.
Remove them manually
Manual removal takes effort, but it’s effective if done daily.
Depending on the severity of your beetle infestation, this may reduce the population within a few days or it could take weeks. It depends on how often you clear them out and how you do it.
There are multiple ways to pick them off your cucurbits.
Let’s go over the most effective ways to knock those cucumber beetles off.
Use a vacuum cleaner
A handheld vacuum (like a shop vac) can be very effective to remove striped cucumber beetles.
Because of their large size, you can easily suck them up and off your veggies.
Be sure to empty the canister or vacuum bag after you’re done. You can also use a canister vacuum (wet/dry) or a regular upright vacuum that has a hose attachment.
Just be sure to empty the dead beetles because they’ll attract ants to your vacuum if you don’t.
Use a wet sponge
Get a bucket full of water and a few drops of dish soap to make a frothy solution.
Put on some gloves, long sleeves, and the rest of your PPE. Use a wet sponge and dip it into the bucket and then “wipe” the leaves and stems of your cucurbit plants.
This will clean off any striped cucumber beetles feeding on it.
Dip the sponge back into the solution to kill them instantly.
You’ll have to repeat this process once a day when the cucumber beetles are active. It may not seem like anything’s happening during the first few days, but after a week or two, you should notice a lot less beetle activity.
Use petroleum jelly
Cucumber beetles are very difficult to remove by hand, but if you coat a pair of garden gloves with petroleum jelly, you can remove them with your gloves.
Put on a thin layer of jelly and make sure the gloves are fully slick. Then grab your plant leaves and stems and run your finger along with the vegetation.
The cucumber beetles will either fall off or stick to your gloves.
Use a bucket with soapy water and dunk your gloves every now and then into the solution to get them off your gloves.
Repeat this daily to remove the cucumber beetles from your plants until they’re fully exterminators.
Deter cucumber beetles with mulch
You can use organic mulch to get rid of striped cucumber beetles.
This is a simple replacement of your substrate near your plants that’ll keep them away (100% naturally).
All you need to do is put down a layer of fabric, hay, or straw coverage next to your vulnerable plants.
The way this works is that the adult beetles can’t lay eggs through these materials, so this stops their life cycle entirely.
You can stretch out the material as far as it goes for more coverage. If the adult beetles can’t lay their eggs within the soil nearby your cucurbits, then the larvae won’t’ have anything to munch on.
You’ll be able to protect your plant roots this way and the adults will be discouraged from depositing eggs.
You can also use plastic, vinyl, or other artificial materials. These are easier to clean, cheaper, and provide 100% protection from them digging through the coverage.
Of course, this defeats the purpose of staying organic and natural so that’s your choice.
How to keep striped cucumber beetles away
Here are some handy tips you can do at home to repel and deter striped cucumber beetles away from your squash, corn, melon, or other cucurbit plants.
Always use natural methods to repel them, as you’ll be eating these veggies and you don’t want to contaminate them with poisons or toxic residues.
Here are a few different ways you can keep cucumber beetles off your plants.
Rotate your crops often
You should always be properly rotating your edibles.
This will help prevent cucurbit crops from being planted into areas where soil contains cucumber beetles larvae. If you don’t examine the soil layer before you plant, you could be placing the seedlings DIRECTLY into an infestation.
So practice proper crop rotation and always check the soil first for beetle activity.
Companion planting can help repel cucumber beetles naturally from your cucurbit plants.
This is the practice of pairing a vulnerable plant with a repellent plant so they grow together. The trick is to find a companion plant that grows well with the specific cucurbit you’re growing.
Some of the most popular plants that naturally repel striped cucumber beetles are the following:
These plants will keep cucumber beetles away from your property. You can line your entire perimeter of your garden with them or companion plant with your edibles.
Sow seeds indoors before transplanting
Planting seedlings inside your home to keep them safe keeps them free from larvae munching on their roots within the dirt.
This is safer than planting outside in your garden, especially if you suspect that striped beetles are present.
Sow your seeds first and then transplant them outside when they’ve hardened. This helps protect vulnerable cucurbit seedling from damage.
But be sure to examine the soil before you transplant. The larvae may be hiding under there waiting for food.
Till the soil
Pulling out your favorite till and tiling the soil after late fall or early winter.
This will bring up the striped cucumber larvae hiding under the soil getting ready to overwinter for the cold temperatures. You can till the soil around your cucurbit plants to turn up the larvae and then remove them.
They can be tossed directly into a bucket of soapy water or just tossed out securely. The larvae are defenseless since they’re overwintering.
You could even just till the soil, then leave them on the surface. The cold weather will kill them since they’re exposed.
Predators like birds, soldier beetles, braconid wasps, and nematodes will also eat them.
Hire a professional exterminator
For beetle problems where you need assistance, hire a licensed professional exterminator from a reputable pest control in your area.
Most will do free consultations so you can ask and confirm that it’s indeed cucumber beetles you’re having a problem with.
Do some research. Call around. Read reviews.
There’s no shame in hiring a pro to take care of the problem. Ask for green or alternative holistic pest control.
Sure, it costs you money. But if you don’t have the time or energy to handle these pests, you may as well have it done right the first time around.
I’d suggest NOT harvesting this season or at least until the pesticides they use have worn off.
Ask them for details about what they spray or traps they use. Get the MSDS and study it. You want to avoid any toxic compounds when necessary.
Here are some commercial sprays you can use to control cucumber beetles. Try avoiding these when possible and opt for natural remedies.
Sevin dust has been reported to be effective against cucumber beetles.
You should know that this is a toxic pesticide that you’re applying to edible plants, so keep that in mind.
I always recommend avoiding commercial pest killers and using natural or organic alternatives instead. If you must use it, read all directions and use them as directed.
Look for sprays that use pyrethrin or azadirachtin as active ingredients for striped cucumber control. These will effectively kill any current beetle populations. Use as directed.
Beauveria bassiana is a fungus that grows naturally in soils and can stop cucumber beetles.
This is an alternative approach to pyrethrin and is generally safe for edible plants. It acts as a parasite against a variety of pests like cucumber beetles, thrips, spiders, aphids, and more.
Here are some additional references you may find useful:
- Striped cucumber beetle – Wikipedia
- Acalymma vittatum F. – UFL
- Cucumber Beetles – Wisconsin Vegetable Entomology
Did you get rid of the cucumber beetles?
You should now have everything you need to get started on maanagin, controlling, and eradicating striped cucumber beetles.
These buggers will swarm your plants and it may look scary as you watch your harvest getting nicked to pieces. But with some patience and persistence, you can do it!
The key is to use a VARIETY of home remedies to get rid of cucumber beetles and not rely on a single solution.
This will be the most effective and efficient way to eliminate them as you’ll quickly find out what works and what doesn’t.
If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line below. Or if you’ve dealt with cucumber beetles before, leave your words of wisdom for other readers!
And if you have any feedback, corrections, or simply found this guide helpful, let me know also =].
Thanks for reading. And enjoy your cucurbit fruits.
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.
2 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Striped Cucumber Beetles Naturally (Fast Remedies)”
Excellent write up.I tried the water and dawn soap a while ago,it was very hot out.It ended up burning my leaves.I see you said rinse off,when do I do that.I also went around base of plants with diatomaceous food grade powder.I check every day,I am getting about 4 to six a day but not as bad as I was.
I’ve already got diatomaceous earth down, and it seems to have helped. I don’t want to use the yellow sticky traps because I don’t want to affect the pollinators. I already mulch my plants with hay, and it hasn’t deterred them. Actually, it seems to be their preferred place, as they first went for the mulched zuchinni over the ones I ran out of mulch and left bare. I’ve read they like to “hide in the weeds”, and the mulch seems to be just such a place for them. The only good thing about this, is that it allowed me my first intervention, which was to peel back the mulch to find the adult beetles and squish them; I killed a lot that way. (One must do this section by section, because they fly away in about three seconds after being revealed.) I wonder if a deeper mulch work as you describe, or wood chips… I’d be interested to hear if anyone tries these. I would try row covers, but they’re already in my soil, now. I suppose I could cultivate a new area. Wouldn’t work for plants that need pollinators though, unless you hand pollinate. Great idea to import ladybugs.
Thank you for the many ideas.