Outwitting Cucumber Beetles

The latest technique for fending off cucumber beetles: Insect Pop-Up nets. After years of little success with cucumbers, I’m hoping these will do the trick.

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Planting Day May 29

3′ x 6′ Low Insect Pop-Up in position.

Little cucumber seedlings nestled safely inside, with the Wire Cucumber Trellis in place.

About 10 years ago, cucumber beetles took up residence in my vegetable garden and since that time I haven’t been able to grow more than a couple decent cucumbers each year.

I’ve tried planting earlier, planting later, planting transplants and direct-sowing the seeds. I’ve tried growing in the greenhouse and in the garden. Using mulch and not using mulch. Growing on a trellis and not on a trellis. I’ve dusted the plants with various organic powders, from rotenone to sabadilla dust. Last year I even constructed a little fabric shroud for them (you can read about it here). Unfortunately, that didn’t work, either.

This year I’ve decided to use an Insect Pop-Up Net to create a barrier between plants and beetles. At home my cucumber plants will be growing right on the ground, so I’ve planted them under the Low (20″) version; Here in our display gardens, we’re growing cukes on a Wire Cucumber Trellis so are using the Tall (48″) version.

So far, I am very impressed with these pop-up nets. Taking them out of their package is FUN! They spring open fully assembled. Just position them over the area and secure them with the metal stakes. It takes less than a minute.

Once the plants start flowering, the nets will have to be removed to allow for pollination. But if I can get the plants to a healthy, mature size, I figure they’ll stand a much better chance of fending off the beetles.

Cucumber beetle

To learn more about the striped cucumber beetle (and how to control it), check out our Pest & Disease DETECTIVE.

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3 Responses to Outwitting Cucumber Beetles

  1. MILLIE says:

    I'll have to try one of those. I'm a sworn enemy of cucumber beetles. My cucumber memory is marked by “before cucumber beetle” and “after cucumber beetle”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Will you PLEASE bring back these raised bed pop-up covers??? They work wonderfully at keeping out critters of all kinds, four and six-legged. But I can't find them anywhere. The ones you replaced them with are apparently too flimsy to last through one gardening season. And I can't find the pop-up covers anywhere in North America.

  3. If you're not happy with the durability of the Pop-Ups, I recommend Super Hoops and garden fabric. You can choose Summerweight Fabric if your primary goal is to exclude insects. Other choices include GardenQuilt and All-Purpose, both of which provide some degree of protection from cold. You'll find the hoops here: http://www.gardeners.com/Super-Hoops/39-392RS,default,pd.html

    -David Grist, Gardener's Supply

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