How To Get Rid of Cucumber Beetles

When I first discovered the cucumber beetle in my garden, I thought,

Oh, how cute! It’s like a ladybug… only yellow!

Little did I know I should have squished the fella right then and there.

Turns out the cucumber beetles are anything but cute, as they are definitely not beneficial pests and can wreak havoc in the garden as they have done in mine.

Crop rotation doesn’t seem to stop these guys from multiplying like rabbits. This year, they are back with a vengeance, although I thought [rather foolishly, I might add] they had gone away because they had showed up earlier in the season last year.

Nope. Once the temperature slightly warmed about two weeks ago, they emerged in droves, happily munching on everything green: favas, potato, green beans.

Just yesterday, I spotted two ecstatically mating on my grape leaves. C’mon now!

So what’s an organic gardener to do?

THIS!
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I cut out a piece of cardboard, painted it with two coats of yellow acrylic paint, and applied varnish (to seal the acrylic).

Why yellow? Cucumber beetles are naturally attracted to yellow because they think they’re flowers. Unfortunately, other insects might mistaken the trap for flowers as well, so you may occasionally get a beneficial or two stuck. In all honesty, one ladybug got stuck on the trap’s backside. Considering only one was caught amongst our abundant ladybug population, I say the ratio is good! The carpenter and honey bees have also steered clear of the trap.

I then nailed the cardboard to a scrap wood piece. Finally, a coat of Tanglefoot Tangle Trap sticky coating was applied on both sides.

Hubby and I had a little fun waving around and catching the beetles in mid-flight with the trap. We placed the trap by the monster zucchini and within seconds, other beetles flocked towards it. The above picture was taken after two days.

How long it takes for a beetle to die depends on how they land on it… and how much effort they put into trying to get out!

If a beetle lands a bit sideways, they’re definitely a goner. If the beetle struggles and ends up on its side or back, they’re toast.

If a beetle lands towards the edge, however, they *might* make it out. Even when it does, however, the gunk is on their legs, severely limiting their mobility and causing them to eventually die.

You can get some Tanglefoot by clicking here.

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