Cucumber beetles, help

My wife went out to garden today and found my largest pumpkin plant decimated by these little black and white striped beetles, maybe 1/8" in size. I think they are cucumber beetles. She sprayed them with some chemical general purpose veggie and fruit tree insecticide. Is there a better way to take care of these? What is a recommend way to keep them from damaging plants?
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We've fought this (and other) battles for years. It's a "no win" situation. Last year, we finally gave up and started using the chemicals. Life is now much better.
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The chemicals worked better then, say, pyrethrum (sp) or rotenone? I've not tried them, but one dose of chemicals, and there are a bunch of dead beetles, and my pumpkins and squash just might make it. I don't like the pesticides because I don't know what effect they might have on the plants and ultimately us humans.
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