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.

Cucumber beetle

Planting day

Planting Day May 29

Low Insect Pop-Up

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

Cucumbers

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.

Cucumber beetle

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

Kathy LaLiberte
Director of Gardening, Gardener’s Supply