Also referred to as: Spotted Cucumber Beetles, Striped cucumber beetles, western striped cucumber beetle, southern corn rootworm, Western corn rootworm beetles
Acalymma spp., Diabrotica undecimpunctata
Light green to yellow little beetles with stripes or spots (very much like a ladybug, but with yellow-green instead of red background). Striped cucumber beetles can overwinter in most parts of the US & Canada. A similar species, the western striped cucumber beetle is only found in the western states. It will feed on snap bean pods as well as seedlings of a variety of crops. The larval stage of the spotted cucumber beetle is the southern corn rootworm, which can cause serious damage to corn crops. Western corn rootworm beetles look similar to cucumber beetles but have yellow abdomens and shorter stripes on the wings.
- Adult Striped Cucumber Beetles are 1/4″ long, yellow with black heads and three black stripes down the back and rows of tiny indentations on the wing covers (RVGPS-159)
- Spotted Cucumber Beetles are 1/4″ long, yellow-green with black heads and 12 black spots on their wings. (RVGPS-159)
- Light green or yellow beetles that look like ladybugs
RVGPS-159: white, wormlike grubs with dark heads and tails, up to 3/4″ long.
RVGPS-159: laid in the soil, often at the base of a plant.
RVGPS-158: eggs are laid in cracks in the soil near the base of a plant; wormlike-larvae hatch 1-2 weeks later and feed on crop roots. After 1-month, the larvae pupate. 1st generation is usually at adult stage when cucumber seeds are just germinating. The 2nd generation comes along at about midsummer.There will be 1-3 overlapping generations each year, with the 1st one doing the most damage, when the plants are young. Spotted cucumber beetles survive winter only in the south, but they migrate north in plenty of time to become a problem for the northern gardeners also. The larval stage o fthe spotted cucumber beetle is the southern corn rootworm, which can cause serious damage to corn crops.
Striped Cucumber Beetle:
RVGPS-158: throughout US, except for the far west; also central and eastern Canada.
Western Striped Cucumber Beetle:
RVGPS-158: west of the Rockies
Spotted Cucumber Beetle:
RVGPS-158: throughout US, and in Canada from east of the Rockies into Quebec.
- Winter Squash
- occasionally other crops
How to Spot Them
RVGPS-158: underside of cotyledons (seedlings), leaves, along the stems, and inside the blossoms, because they prefer shaded spots.
RVGPS-158: young seedlings may die quickly from being eaten. Inspect squash-family seedlings frequently,
RVGPS-159: bacterial wilt and/or mosaic virus will cause the whole plant to wilt. These diseases can kill the vines later in the season.
- holes are chewed through leaves, often leaving veins still attached
- medium to large holes in leaves
- tiny black specks of poop around the hole
- often don’t chew clean holes, leaving bits of veins connected
holes chewed through petals
usually the damage the larvae do won’t be noticed, unless it’s a small seedling that dies. if you pull up the plant you will probably find little larvae.
RVGPS-159: fruit laying on the earth may get drilled into by the larvae.
RVGPS-159: if your season is long enough, you can plant after the first generation is done.
RVGPS-159: cover and seal until flowering time
RVGPS-159: attracted to yellow
RVGPS-159: remove all crop debris or dig it into the soil to destroy overwintering sites for adults
RVGPS-159: turn soil just before frost where squash-family crops grew
RVGPS-159: spray up to twice per week, especially under leaves to deter them. Reapply after heavy rains.
RVGPS-159: as often as possible
RVGPS-159: use a hand-held vacuum to pick up the beetles, then kill them.
RVGPS-159: trellising the plants makes it easier to monitor & handpick.
RVGPS-159: planting an early squash crop to attract beetles, then killing them all before the real crop goes in works for larger-scale gardening.
Drenching Soil with Nematodes
RVGPS-159: applying Heterorhabditis nematodes to the soil helps kill the larvae.
RVGPS-159: last resort. limit spray to the plants you know are infested.