Well it looks like my little garden is under full scale onslaught. I must
have just had dumb luck last year. So now my young cucumber leaves are
heavily damaged. Last night they were fine, this morning they look like a
doily. The damage is pretty extensive. What insect did this? I could see
no slug trails anywhere. Can the plants survive with about 50% leaf area
destroyed? I noticed a few of my pepper plants have leaves with large holes
in them that were also not there yesterday. I don't see the slugs getting
to those leaves so it must be something else.
Main suspects would be
1) cucumber beetles
Both of these feed at night and hide during the day (though as the season
progresses, the cucumber beetles will become more apparent during the
Cucumber beetles can often be found on the plant stems just below the
soil line or nestled deep in terminal buds. (They also like to hide in
squash blossoms.) The really bad news is that these beetles can transmit
diseases to your cucumbers (bacterial wilt and mosaic virus). Spray at
night with whatever insecticide you are comfortable with using that is
labeled for controlling cucumber beetles.
Earwigs will hide in the soil or in crevices in wood. They are easily killed
insecticidal soap, IF you can hit them with it. This may mean spraying at
(while they are out and feeding) or spraying the sorts of places they like to
They can also be trapped.
I've had cutworms climb up pepper plants and feed on the leaves. Search
the soil around the base of the affected plants for a curled up caterpillar.
Pat in Plymouth MI
"Vegetables are like bombs packed tight with all kinds of important
Thanks, I'll try a spraying at night since I see no bugs active during the
day. I am also leaning towards the belief that Red Hmong cucumbers, a
novelty to be sure, are not very disease and pest resistant. Right next to
my reds are my lemon cucumbers and so far they have not been targeted by
pests. The reds seem to be a magnet for bugs.
I think the canola oil (Natria) was not effective or if it was it did not
last for more than a few days. The organic insecticides with the lecithin
and neem oil didn't seem to do much. The Spenosad does seem to have halted
the leaf miners. Next is a pyrytherin spray which if it doesn't help means
I'll just yank the reds and plant something else. The leaf damage is pretty
severe as it is.
Slugs are voracious at night, hide during the day under rocks, logs,
mulch, etc. Use a flashlight and check your plants at 11 pm. Check
for slime trails. We got 6" banana slugs here and they are only
seen at night. Sometimes a gardener needs to be a detective.
Are you sure the damage happened over night? Cucumber beatles will make the
leaves look like doilys, and they can quickly devestate cucumbers, beans,
etc. I've had egg clusters hatch and destroy plants within hours. By the
time I got out of bed in the morning to check the plants, it was too late.
They can recover from 50% leaf destruction, but it will set them back. If
the plants are very young, I'd reseed and try again. Otherwise, nurse them
the best you can.
I use neem to control the cucumber beetles. They seem to not like the smell
and will stay from them for almost a week.
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