Let The Body Count Begin – Cucumber Beetles

Went out to the cucumber A-frame the other night and couldn’t believe my eyes — Cucumber Beetles had infested my frame.

Last year everything went so easy in growing the cucumbers, that I never gave them a second thought this year when I planted them in the same spot. Apparently this can be one of the reasons cucumber beetles infest a garden – not rotating the crops.

Being fairly new to gardening at the scale I am now, I immediately consulted my books and then did some research on the internet.  Although there are some very “natural” methods to eliminate these bugs from your garden, most of these were not available readily. The traps that would catch these little guys were either out of stock or I would have to wait a week or more for them to come in and none of the garden centers within a 50 mile radius had cucumber beetle traps.

Never being a patient person and not willing to risk losing my cucumber crop, I immediately headed out to the closest garden center to talk to an expert. After voicing my concerns about harsh chemicals, the man I spoke with suggested a repellent that was concentrated. This would allow me to control how strong of a repellent I used. He assured me it was safe for vegetable plants, as that was exactly what it had been developed for.

That night I came home, mixed up a batch, and took my little spray bottle out to the A-frame. I sprayed every inch of the cucumber plants, tops, bottoms, and everywhere in between. As I sprayed I watched as the tiny cucumber beetles just sat here, seemingly unaffected by the spray. A bit disappointed, I decided to wait until the next evening before heading back to the store to get my money back.

Last night, right around dusk, when the cucumber beetles are most active, I headed out to the A-frame. This is what I found:

The pictures aren’t the best because I was so excited I couldn’t hold the camera still! Right off the bat I found five dead beetles and that was just what I could see from several feet away. What was even better, there weren’t any new ones flying around or crawling in the flowers, as had been the case the night before.

Tonight I went out again to see how the cucumbers were doing and found several more dead cucumber beetles, no live ones, several bees buzzing from flower and to flower, and I picked our sixth cucumber.

Many of the cucumbers on the vines were turning yellow and falling off, which can be a result of cucumber beetles. I am hopeful that I won’t have to worry about this happening any more.

As much as I hate to use chemicals in my garden, the one I am using seems to be safe — as safe as any chemical can be. I am thankful that I noticed the cucumber beetles before it got too late, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.

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