Cucumber Beetle

- These insects damage roots and foliage of garden plants -

Summary: Cucumber beetles cause significant damage to garden plants. Beetles feed on leaves while larvae damage roots. Effective, low toxicity solutions are available but must be used early before damage occurs.

Jack DeAngelis, PhD
OSU Ext. Entomologist (ret.)

What are cucumber beetles?

Cucumber beetles damage garden and agricultural plants in two ways. Larvae, sometimes called rootworms, feed on the roots while adult beetles feed on leaves. Large populations can cause significant damage in both gardens and agricultural fields. Spotted cucumber beetles (right) look superficially like lady beetles except for color. Cucumber beetles are yellow/green instead of the orange/red of true lady beetles. There also is a striped cucumber beetle with similar life history and control.

For gardeners one of the best controls against all leaf feeding beetles is to use row covers when beetles are active in early summer. Row covers protect young plants from feeding damage. Neem-based insecticides can also be safely used to prevent feeding (see Using Neem Oil in the Garden).

cucumber beetle

spotted cucumber beetle (upper center)

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