cucumber beetle infestation - what to do?

This year we have a moderate stripped and spotted cucumber beetle infestation. They are voracious, and devestate small plants, especially beans. I've used insecticidal soap, but it only kills the ones it comes in contact with. I tried some canola based spray, but it likewise only kills the ones it comes in contact with. I pinch them when I see them, but they are everywhere. I used Bug-B-Gone, which coats the leaves with poison, and that worked good but you have to wonder where the poison residues are going. Also, with the warm weather we have been having, my garden has exploded into a jungle, and it's just not feasible to use any kind of toxic spray on all of the things I have that they like to eat. They eat sunflowers, beans, squash, okra, cucumbers, they especially love young pumpkin plants, and tomatillos, and I have a lot of all of those. How else can these be safely controlled on such a large scale?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"Ook" <Ook Don't send me any freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin' spam> wrote in message

I'm not sure if cucumber beetles are tougher gangsters than Japanese beetles, but last year, I got rid of the latter using garlic & cayenne spray, home made. One day, the Japanese beetles were decimating my grape vines. The next day, they were gone. Never saw them again. I did not research their life cycle, so I can't say whether they would've been gone without my spraying. Just reporting what I saw.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hand picking is a good start, I know they like to drop when a shadow passes over. Try passing a flame from a small propane torch over them about enough to singe the hairs on your forearm will singe the antennae off of them and stop them eating and breeding. You might scorch a leaf until you get the hang of it but it does work. The IPM folks use turks turban squash to monitor for them as they prefer it, and once they find them they begin control methods.
If you want to experiment grind up a bunch of them in a blender and make a spray containing their juices and pathogens.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
It was cucumber beetles that made me stop using insecticides in my garden. I had cucumber beetles so bad they were eating the silk on my corn. I waited until close to sundown so that I wouldn't spray any bees and covered the whole garden in Sevin. The next morning all the cucumber beetles were dead, along with lady bugs and just about anything else that got caught in my fumigation.
After vowing never to do that again, I stumbled across a way to get cucumbers without the beetles. It isn't something that you can try right away though. My ex-wife's grandparents lived three doors away from us. They also had a garden, and I would go down and help them out every few days. I noticed one day that while I had cucumber beetles on my plants, they had none. I don't know what the difference was, but over a space of maybe 100 yards, there were no beetles to be found on their cucumbers. So I quit growing them in my garden and grew extra in theirs.
Check with your neighbors. Maybe someone is growing cucumbers without beetles. If so, see what they have problems growing. Maybe you can grow a bit extra of what they can't in trade for them growing extra cucumbers for you. At the very least, you will have made a new friend who has something in common with you...gardening.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That is a problem here - my daughters released a bag of ladybugs a while back, and we have ladybugs *everywhere*. Too bad they don't eat the beetles! So, if I sterilized the garden, they would never forgive me. My nine year old will stop everything to rescue a ladybug from the sidewalk or swimming pool.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What a great post. Someone who learned from his/her mistake and came up with a terrific solution that benefits all, including the insects! Thanks for letting us know of your experience, JP. ( you made my day) Emilie
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I agree, it's a great idea. I need to find some neighbors that like tomatillos, I still have a hundred or so growing here and there...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.