The Garden Pest Cucumber Bug and Home Made Organic Pest Control for it and Other Critters
As a garden pest Cucumber Bug or Cucumber Beetle is exotic to Australia but widespread in other countries.
Here we’ll look at home made organic pest control methods for the cucumber bug that are also effective for controlling common Australian vegetable sap sucking pests such as the Green Vegetable Bug as well as many other insect pests.
The Garden Pest Cucumber Bug
The most common Cucumber Bugs are the Spotted Cucumber Beetle and the Striped Cucumber Beetle.
They are yellow with black markings and small, only being about ¼ inch long.
They attack cucurbits vegetables which include melons, squash and cucumber, and they can also wreck havoc with tomatoes, corn, eggplant, asparagus and beans.
Adults feed on tender young plant growth and lay their eggs in clusters under the leaves, which hatch into larvae which burrow into the ground and attack the roots (where they may be known as “Rootworm”).
They breed during the warmer months, and the lifecycle takes about 8 weeks to complete.
Over winter the adults can survive in vegetation, compost or trash piles.
The Green Vegetable Bug
The Green Vegetable or Shield Bug is bright green, shaped like a shield and about 12mm long. In Australia it is considered a kind of Stink Bug. The Green Vegetable Bug is a sap sucking pest that preys on a wide range of plants in the garden.
The damage caused by garden pest Cucumber Bug and the Green Vegetable Bug is compounded by their propensity to spread diseases such as bacterial wilt and mosaic.
HOME MADE ORGANIC
PEST CONTROL STRATEGIES
Grow Healthy Plants
Review our page on
general organic pest control strategies
for inspiration and advice on this.
They say the best fertilizer is the farmer’s shadow! Get into the habit of regularly inspecting your plants for pests, hunting them down and killing them. Also remove and destroy any leaves that have egg masses on them.
Keep cultivated areas free of the litter and debris of infested plants.
You can cover young seedlings with bug netting at planting time, which is removed when blossoms appear so that pollination can occur. By this time the young plants will have developed tougher stems and be more resistant to attack.
Sticky Bug Paper
Commercially available sticky bug paper is attractive to garden pest Cucumber Bug and white flies. Just tack it up on the sides of your trellises or onto stakes put in around susceptible plants in your vegetable patch.
You can try either planting early so your plants have a chance to toughen up before the bug season gets underway, or late so you miss a generation of the bugs
Gardeners writing in to online forums report that there is often a big difference between different plant varieties in their susceptibility to garden pest cucumber bug and other insects. Pest resistant varieties mentioned include White Runner Bean, Yellow Summer Squash, an heirloom tomato called Banana Legs, Katahdin Potato and True Siberian Kale. Only through trial and error can you find the best varieties for your situation so experiment and grow several different types of each vegetable each season to find those that are hardiest for you.
Heavy mulching may help thwart the successful access of Cucumber Bug larvae to the plant roots. It’s worth a try, and a good garden practice anyhow to conserve soil moisture and enhance its biological activity.
Some wasps will prey upon troublesome bugs, even the stinky Green Vegetable Bug that is considered pretty yuck fare by nearly all self-respecting predators. So encourage wasps by interplanting your veges with flowers, and letting some of your carrots and parsley go to seed.
Avoid having susceptible plants in large groups – it will only attract the bugs that like them from near and far. Interplant as much as possible to confuse pests.
Some plants you could try that are reported to repel garden pest Cucumber Bugs and other insects are flowering Nasturtium, Tansy, Zinnias, Radishes, Geranium, aromatic herbs, Garlic, Onion, Parsley, Chives, and Turnip.
Some people have found that pumpkins are very attractive to many insects including garden pest Cucumber Bugs while not being severely affected. They are also easier to screen for bugs making catching them a breeze.
People have used pyrethrin-containing insecticides such as Pyola (which is nearly all canola oil) applied directly to host plants with mixed results. It seems most effective against young bugs early in the season.
Rotenone is pretty potent stuff and probably should only be used as a last resort.
Neem Oil products work by inhibiting feeding by a wide range of pests and have been reported to give good control.
As always, use caution and follow safety instructions when using insecticides, especially on plants bearing produce for human or animal consumption.
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