Common garden pests like deer and rabbits generally leave growing cucumbers alone. In fact, most animal-caused damaged to a cucumber crops comes from a few insect pests, according to North Carolina State University. Signs of insect trouble in the cucumber garden includes small holes in the vegetables, withered leaves and dry vines.
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The striped and spotted cucumber beetles are two of the most common and damaging pests found on the cucumber plant. Cucumber plants are known to host both adult beetles and larvae, according to the University of Maryland. Eggs appear as small, yellow or orange spots on the soil around a cucumber garden. Adult beetles are fairly tiny, only about ¼ inch long. Their bodies are yellow with black stripes or black spots, depending on the variety of beetle. As eggs hatch, the larvae feed upon the roots of the plant and cause the cucumber vines and leaves to wilt. Adult beetles will eat the entire plant, causing holes in the vegetables, stems and leaves. Cucumber beetles are also known to spread the mosaic plant virus. To control these pests, remove debris in the fall, as adults tend to live in the soil over the winter. Place row covers over cucumbers until the plants fully bloom. Treat plants with pyrethrum, neem, or spinosad pesticides.
The squash bug is also known to lay brown-orange eggs on the underside of cucumber flowers. As the bugs hatch and grow, they feed upon the plant's interior juices. This can cause the vines and leaves to wither, turn black and eventually die. These large, flat grey bugs resemble the brown stink bug. The best treatment for a squash bug infestation is to check plants regularly for signs of eggs. Treat with an insecticide before bugs reach the adult stage.
The pickleworm also infests cucumber crops and feeds on the growing plants. Pickleworm eggs appear like a mass of clear jelly. The worms are green with a brown head. It grows into a pickleworm moth which features feathery black and white wings, according to the University of North Carolina. The most common sign of a pickleworm infestation is the development of an entrance and exit hole on the vegetables. The worms burrow inside the cucumbers and eat away the insides. To treat pickleworms, spray plants with insecticides rated for use on the pickleworm. Periods of migration are the best times to treat plants with insecticide.
The honey bee, according to the North Carolina State University, will also be found among cucumbers but it's considered beneficial since it pollinates the garden. Honey bees are attracted to the flowers of the cucumber plant.
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