Public Enemies

The spotted cucumber beetle has arrived! Argh!

The spotted cucumber beetle has arrived! Argh!

Every year we dread…

the arrival of cucumber beetles, our most frustrating pests in the pumpkin patch.  It’s amazing to watch how these pests can flock in hoards to our patch of pumpkins.  That’s why the arrival of the first cucumber beetles was not a pleasant surprise.  Cucumber beetles, of which there are two different species, love to feed on cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins, all members of the cucurbit family.  The striped and spotted cucumber beetles which we found in our pumpkins actually overwintered as adults  and will soon be laying eggs for the next generation which we will be doing battle with  the rest of the season.

The reason that these two bugs are so dreaded is because of the damage they can cause to our pumpkins.  Cucumber beetles love to feed on pumpkin plants, chewing on leaves, flowers, even mature pumpkins.  This time of year, cucumber beetles can completely chew off small seedlings, but luckily most of our pumpkins are big enough to survive their chewing.

The striped cucumber beetle is here, too!

The striped cucumber beetle is here, too!

The worst part of their feeding is that these bugs are full of harmful bacteria and viruses, and when they chew on pumpkin plants they can infect the plants.

The most devastating infection is bacterial wilt, which causes the vines to wilt, as the name implies.  Nothing is more frustrating than seeing full grown vines wilt and die, usually over a matter of days.  Once a plant is infected there is no cure, so kiss the plant good bye.

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Comments
One Response to “Public Enemies”
  1. What a bummer? What do you have to do to get rid of these little pesky enemies?
    I got your message and I’m glad the dates work out!
    Good luck with the enemy!
    Laurie

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