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.
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.
To learn more about the striped cucumber beetle (and how to control it), check out our Pest & Disease DETECTIVE.
Director of Gardening, Gardener’s Supply