natural pesticides for cucumber beetles
Striped Cucumber Beetle
What can I use to control cucumber beetles? Last year I had so much trouble with them.
Cucumber beetles can be either striped or spotted and cause havoc not just with beetles but other vegetables, including melons.
There are a number of natural pesticides for cucumber beetles and it is best that you treat your plants as soon as you see the beetles appear to prevent them from laying too many eggs.
Neem oil soap can be used. This will kill the cucumber beetle on contact and will keep new beetles away from your plants for about two weeks.
Another natural pesticide for cucumber beetles is Pyrethrum.
The life cycle of the cucumber beetle is that they overwinter in garden trash and leaf debris and then in spring they lay their eggs in the soil around the vegetable plants. Each beetle can lay around 800 eggs and within 10 days they hatch. During a growing season you could end up with 4 generations of cucumber beetles munching on your cucumbers, pumpkins and melons.
Therefore other natural ways of controlling cucumber beetles would be to remove as much unwanted leaf debris and garden trash so that the beetles don't have places to overwinter.
Also encourage beneficial insects to your garden that feed on cucumber beetle eggs such as the lacewings, spined soldier bugs and ladybugs.
Finally, another way of controlling the cucumber beetle is by hand. Good old-fashioned hand control works well. You will find the beetles on the vegetable flowers in the early morning. If you want to go night-hunting take a torch and you will find them on the leaves. Pick them off and place them in a container.
You can then crush them up, add water to the crushed beetles, strain and spray your vegetables with this bug juice.
Our best tip, however, is not controlling the cucumber beetle once you have it, but how to prevent it.
The first thing we suggest is tilling the soil to a 6 inch depth throughout all your empty garden beds. Do this in the fall after harvest and again in the spring. What this will do is bring the cucumber beetle eggs to the surface and the winter weather will kill the eggs off.
When it is time to plant, place a handful of wood ash from your fireplace into each hole where you are going to plant your cucumber, squash, pumpkin or melon seeds and mix the ash into the soil slightly with your hand. Now plant your seeds.
In and around your cucumbers, melons, squash and pumpkin plant nasturtiums for companion planting
You will find that tilling, using wood ash and planting nasturtiums are three of the best methods of keeping the cucumber beetle out of your vegetable garden.