The Q&A Archives: Insect Control on Cucumbers

Question: I have been unable to grow a meaningful cucumber crop in the past due to cucumber beetles. I have used seeds that have been mosaic virus resistent but this has been insufficient. What additional measures should I take to have a bountiful crop this year? I would prefer to use the least amount of insecticides.

Answer: First of all, make sure your plants have the correct growing conditions: full sun, deep, rich soil and plenty of moisture at the root zone. Trellises keep plants and fruit off the ground, too.

You can protect your cucumbers with a fabric row cover to keep flying insects, such as cucumber beetles, away from the plants. If you pin the fabric tightly to the soil, that should deter most of the "crawlers", such as slugs and squash beetles. It's important to check under the cover frequently, though, for other pests, such as aphids. You can keep your cukes undercover if you grow parthenocarpic varieties. These do not require pollination to set fruit, so you don't have to remove the cover when the plants blossom to allow pollinators access. Try Burpee's 'Big Burpless Hybrid' and 'Sweet Success'. Hope this helps!

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