Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cucumber Beetles

2 Cucumber Beetles
On a Purple Tomatillo plant

Tomatillos, ground cherries and poha berries are husked fruits of the physalis ixocarpa and physalis peruviana classifications. I never see cucumber beetles unless I have one of these plants growing in my garden. The beetles appear to be a problem from April until August.

A wider perspective of the Purple Tomatillo

There are 5 cucumber beetles visible in this photo. The beetles have been munching on some of the leaves but the damage is far.

I decided to use Concern Garden Defense, a good quality neem product. I sprayed the plants every few days for 3 weeks. Unfortunately, the bugs weren't bothered at all by the neem and they continued to lay more eggs until the population rose to infestational levels. 

1 month later - a damaged Purple Tomatillo plant

After spraying a few gallons of neem on this poor plant, picking off the cucumber beetles and hunting for their eggs underneath the leaves twice a day, I decided to try another product.

After 1 application of Concern Multi-Garden Insect Killer, they left and didn't return for about a week. These beetles seem to come out of nowhere. Luckily, they don't attack anything else in my garden, not even the cucumbers.

If you're growing tomatillos, ground cherries or poha berries in Kihei during the spring and summer, I suggest spraying the plants once a week with Concern Multi-Purpose Insect Killer, or a similar product. Concern garden products are OMRI and available at Kula Hardware & Nursery.