How to Manage Pests

Pests in Gardens and Landscapes

Cucumber beetles

Adult beetles are shiny with black heads, long antennae, and about 0.25 inch long. Larvae are whitish and slender with three pairs of short legs; the head and tip of the abdomen are darker. Adults may be striped or spotted, depending upon species.

Identification of species | Life cycle


Adults feed on the leaves of many vegetables as well as on soft fruit. Shoots and blossoms may also be consumed. Cucumber beetles may also spread cucumber mosaic virus or wilts in cucurbits. Larvae feed exclusively on roots, but do not generally damage garden plants, although corn may occasionally be damaged.


Management of cucumber beetles is difficult. Most older plants can support substantial numbers without serious damage. The best strategy for most vegetable gardens may be to place protective cloth over emerging plants and remove it when plants are old enough to tolerate damage. On stone-fruit trees, early harvest may be the only option. Various general predators are known to attack cucumber beetles.

Western spoted cucumber beetleWestern spotted cucumber beetle

Cucumber beetles may chew  holes
Cucumber beetles may chew holes in leaves

Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
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