Cucumber Beetles and Bacterial Wilt

May 18, 2016

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Your cucumber plants start out great and suddenly wilt and seem to die overnight. The problem is bacterial wilt, but the real culprit is the yellow and green striped, banded or spotted cucumber beetle.  These beetles stunt plant growth, reduce fruit set, scar the fruit and transmit the deadly bacterial wilt disease. This disease causes plants to suddenly wilt, yellow and die. Manage the cucumber beetles to reduce the risk of bacterial wilt.  Nature helps with natural predators like the wolf spider and ground beetles.

Further reduce the risk of damage by rotating your crops and mulching the soil. Cover the plants with row covers at planting to help plants thrive by keeping cucumber beetles and squash bugs off the plants. Remove the covers as soon as the plants start flowering, so pollination can occur. Hand pick or vacuum the insects off the plants as soon as they are found.

A bit more information:  These beetles are problems in gardens throughout the United States. The overwintering adult feeds on seedlings and young transplants. The immature worm-like larvae feed on plant roots. Later in the season the adult cucumber beetles can be found munching on leaves, flowers and fruit.  For more information on this pest click here.  

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