cucumber beetles- how do you deal with them?

vaherbmomJuly 8, 2011

Last year I had cucumber and cantalope/melon vines continually wilt just as they were getting really productive. This happened over and over. Someone on one of the forums here recommended I try spraying with permethrin starting when the plants are set out, then stopping once they bloom. I have tried this although it did take me a couple weeks to find permethrin so the first several weeks my plants did not get sprayed.

I'm still losing one cucumber after another to wilt. I even tried covering some younger starts with insect cover and when I pulled it back there were the cucumber beetles under it!

I have now also lost two of my muskmelon vines before they ever set fruit. I was spraying the permethrin once/week.

Do I just need to give up on growing muskmelons? how do other people deal with this?

I do scout my garden daily and squash every cucumber beetle I can find. They are fast unless I get them early in the morning.

Thanks for any advice.

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Permethrin is a synthetic form of an insecticide made from the roots of certain chrysanthemums, pyrethrins, and appears to not only be very broad spectrum but very persistant in the environment. Using a broad spectrum insecticide means that you will also be killing off any predators of the insect pests you have which then means the pest will return sooner and in larger numbers.
Controlling Cucumber Beetles, Squash Bugs, Squash Vine Borers is the same and requires multiple methods, starting with your soil. The link below may be of some help.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cucumber beetle control

    Bookmark   July 9, 2011 at 7:09AM
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Thanks, I really did hate to use the permethrin, after all the whole reason I am growing my own food is so that it will be healthier for my children. But the person here who recommended it seemed like he really knew what he was talking about and I am feeling desperate since despite picking off every beetle I can catch my vines wilt just before the fruit ripens. Very frustrating.

That link was to the squash bug page but I found the cucumber beetle page. Most of what they recommend I am already doing but I will plan to try trap crops (which will take up alot of garden space I'd rather use for something I'm actually going to eat) and encouraging bats next year. Other than that there didn't seem to be a whole lot I could do. I have tried row cover, as I said.

thanks for the advice

    Bookmark   July 10, 2011 at 8:02AM
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