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Help, a sudden and massive attack of bugs

 
Samuel Nesbitt
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http://adobe.ly/1laaVjp
Yellow with black spots... kinda cute, but eating everything. They appeared suddenly in the thousands.
Does anyone know what kind they are and how to protect my garden without Ortho etc?
thanks much

 
Patrick Mann
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Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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Cucumber beetle

Here is information on the insect, along with some pointers on natural control strategies: http://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/factsheets/Cucurbit_Beetles.htm
 
Judith Browning
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looks like a spotted cucumber beetle to me. If they are there by the thousands I would try a shop vac or some vacuum method of sucking them up off of the plants. We did this with an invasion of blister beetles a few years ago and it helped some.
There are several organic methods listed on line once you have identified the bug but most are preventative like row covers or bound to kill good bugs also like pyrethrum. Did you have them last year?

and welcome to permies, Samuel....
 
Samuel Nesbitt
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I had a few last year, which I just removed manually, but was not a big problem because there were so few. The vacuum cleaner sounds very useful.
I am going to have to read up on "row covers". I don't mind prevention strategies, I am in this for the long term.
Still reading vegetablemdonline. I need to see what they have to say about it.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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That appears to be a Coleoptera of some form...

Yes...it most likely is a Spotted Cucumber Beetle - Diabrotica undecimpunctata

First line of defense (as with most crawly things) is a physical barrier whenever possible...next in the arsenal diatomaceous earth and kaolin clays...

Now that you know what it is...you can do your own research and experiments...let us know the results and thanks for sharing...

j
 
Samuel Nesbitt
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Physical barriers.. I assume one such barrier would be "row covers"... this makes sense but I have three questions:

1) The cucumber beetle comes from a larvae which matures underground. It would seem the row cover would only serve to keep them contained inside where the plants are. How to prevent this problem, if it is a problem.
2) It would seem the row covers would prevent bees from pollinating. Do I remove it when the plants are flowering?
3) Are there any other types of physical barriers that I could look at?

Thanks for the welcome. This seems like a nice and useful forum. Good to be here.
 
Judith Browning
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My method of bug control (which isn't everyones) is to try to plant out of sync with the bad bugs life cycle if possible, to plant more and more flowers that attract beneficial insects and to plant enough diversity in polycultures that the insects aren't as attracted to the crop as when it is one big row of something. Even then we lose something every year to bugs, bunnies or deer.
Your thoughts about row cover are exactly what I experienced the year I used it. Plus, in the end it is just more trash...not at all compostable.

I'm sure you will get some more input to your question...it is that time of year.

 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Samuel, I added this thread to a few more forums to try to get you some more input and added a couple 'flags' for more attention.
I do think that the best long range bad bug deterrent is fertile soil and healthy plants....although I know that doesn't help when the cucumber beetles are out there now munching your plants.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Samuel,

I must admit that we had a green house for some garden area, and the rest was mound garden. We (mother and grandmother mostly) would cover an area for one reason or another. Pollination can be done manually (seen my grandmother do it plenty of times) as well as with "good pollinators." I will admit that we had huge collection of "predators" that kept most things at bay from Praying mantis to birds... Hand picking was also a big part of my job when younger...and effective. I look forward to other methods that might be shared...

Judith B. wrote:Plus, in the end it is just more trash...not at all compostable.


Agreed in most cases, yet not all...

Ours covered certain mounds and where made of wood and screen in sections, or in a fashion that could be used over several years or longer...

Regards,

j

 
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