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Cucumber Beetle Control in Greenhouse and High Tunnels

Posted: June 3, 2012

The cucumber beetle has turned up this week in scouting of local greenhouse cucumber crops.

Judson Reid (jer11@cornell.edu), Cornell Vegetable Program

Although very early in the season, the time to manage this pest is now.  It seems small plants are most susceptible, and all stages can become infected with bacterial wilt, which is spread by the beetles.  This disease causes a total and irreversible wilt of infected plants.

The cucumber beetle is among the most challenging of vegetable pests for organic control.  To date there isn’t a commercially viable biological control, although many exist in nature.  Growers report mixed results with products such as Surround (0 day PHI), Pyganic (0 day PHI) and Entrust (1 day PHI).  Some growers physically remove cucumber beetles from plants in the early morning when they are slow moving.

Conventional pesticide options are also somewhat limited.  In New York field pesticides may be applied in high tunnels unless there is a specific greenhouse prohibition.  For example, Sevin is registered for field cucumbers but prohibited from use on cucumbers grown in greenhouses and tunnels.

What pesticides are labeled for use on cucumbers grown in greenhouses and tunnels?
•    Baythroid (0 day PHI)
•    Brigade (3 day PHI)
•    Voliam Xpress (1 day PHI)
•    Asana (3 day PHI)
•    Danitol (7 day PHI)
•    Admire (0 day PHI)
Please note the Admire label has very specific directions regarding greenhouse cucumber applications.   These include a more dilute application than tomatoes (0.6 ounces/1000 plants in 21 gallons of water), only for plants grown in soil or planting media; not perlite, vermiculite, rock wool or other non-soil medias.  This systemic insecticide may negatively impact bees and beneficials, so consider this if there is a biocontrol program in place for thrips or mites.

Before using any insecticide in New York, verify that the label contains both the crop and the pest.
In the field there are other beetle management options such as tillage, rotation, cover crops and trap crops.  Inside greenhouses and tunnels we have less of these choices, but we can focus on growing cucumbers with low levels of cucurbitacin, the chemical which attracts beetles.  The seedless varieties generally have less cucurbitacin than field types.

From: Veg Edge Weekly newsletter: May 23rd issue