There are many insects I gladly welcome into my garden, but not cucumber beetles. I cringe every time I see one of their yellow bodies with black spots or black stripes. There are very few ways to rid them from my garden once they arrive. While these small and swift pests are quick to devour my seedlings early in the season, they’ll also wage war on my mature plants if I let them.
Thankfully, I don’t have an infestation, but I did find this one crawling around my sunflowers last night. Two good things to know about the cucumber beetles are:
1) Cucumber beetles are attracted to both yellow and orange flowers.
2) Cucumber beetles move more slowly in cooler temperatures.
A great organic strategy for keeping these pests under control is to visit your yellow and orange flowers in the evening and simply pick the slower moving bugs off, dropping them into soapy water. (Of course, you can also squish them if you like that sort of thing!) If handpicking bugs isn’t to your liking, you can also use insect-eating nematodes to help control an outbreak.
I’ve been using this simple riddance strategy all season….my reward has been a bounty of lemon cukes!