Striped Cucumber Beetle Location
The striped cucumber beetle is a native of the United States, with a range from Mexico to Canada east of the Rocky Mountains.
It is a serious pest of the cucurbit family, injuring cucumbers, muskmelon, winter squash, pumpkins, gourds, summer squash and watermelon about in that order.
Striped Cucumber BeetleAppearance and Habits
The winter is passed as an adult – a small, 1/4 in. long yellow beetle with three black stripes, hiding at the base of weeds or under trash, often at some distance from the vegetable patch. The beetles start feeding in early spring on blossoms and leaves of various wild plants, but they migrate to the vine crops as soon as these appear above ground.
Mating soon after migration, the females lay yellow eggs, in crevices in the ground, which hatch into small, worm-like, whitish larvae. These feed on the roots for 2 to 6 weeks, pupate in the soil and, by midsummer, produce beetles which feed on leaves and often fruits until fall. There is one generation in the North, two or more in the South.
Cucumber beetles are injurious not only by the feeding of adults on leaves, stems and fruits, and of larvae on the roots, but also because they are carriers of cucumber wilt bacteria and the mosaic virus. The bacteria, living over the winter in the beetle’s intestinal tract, are inoculated into plants as the beetles feed; the virus is acquired while the insects are feeding on weeds in the spring and then transmitted to the vine crops.
How to Manage Striped Cucumber Beetle
Plant late, after the first beetles hatch. Start plants indoors in containers.
Protect seedlings with cheesecloth or nylon tents made by draping cloth over crossed stakes.
Straw mulch keeps adults from walking between plants.
Braconid wasps, nematodes, and soldier beetles consume the cucumber beetle.