The Q&A Archives: Beetles Killing Blossom Ends

Question: I have what I believe to be cucumber beetles. They are black (maybe dark green) with yellow stripes. They get into the blossoms of my cucumber, squash and any other vegie that has a large blossom. They do something to the blossom that make the vegie rot.


Answer: Unfortunately, once they are in the area, they are hard to get rid of. You can handpick them or try using row covers to keep them off the cucumbers. Be sure to remove the covers for pollination, or try growing varieties that do not require pollination (such as burpee's 'Big Burpless Hybrid' and 'Sweet Success'). 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. Another trick is to wait to plant cucumbers until mid-summer and then plant a bush-type that will mature quickly. Radishes are reported to be a repellant as are nasturtiums. Also, try spraying with a neem-based repellent ("neem" is an extract of the neem tree seed) according to the label directions. Good luck!

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