Subject: Twelve-spotted cucumber beetle
Location: Naperville, IL
August 26, 2012 8:26 am
These spotted cucumber beetles took up residence the first year I planted my vegetable garden and nearly defoliated every concurbit they came into contact with: cucumbers, naturally, watermelon, squash, canteloupe, as well as mammoth sunflowers. Then I read (on the internet, so it must be true :)) that inter-planting radishes will discourage their presence. The next spring, I may have gone a little wild and scattered radish seeds all over the garden, but sure enough, the radishes now self seed each year in acceptable numbers, and the cucumber beetles are just passing visitors. Other than my little anecdote, I have no idea if the two are related. All the best!
Signature: -Dori Eldridge
New gardeners are always writing to us wanting to know how to control garden pests. We haven’t received many identification requests for Twelve Spotted Cucumber Beetles, Diabrotica undecimpunctata, but we find your radish tip quite fascinating. Your photos are also quite beautiful.
Thank you, Daniel. Our small neighborhood borders on two sides what is now prairie preserve but used to be corn fields a few decades ago. I have often wondered if the decline I have experienced in spotted cucumber beetles (Diabrotica undecimpunctata) was due to the radish trick (I looked again this morning, and by Googling the the key words, came up with quite a number of such tips) or simply the reverting to nature of the former corn fields, which I understand is a favored feeding ground of their larvae, aka corn rootworms. I hope you have a successful start to your new semester. All the best to you.
The demise of the corn fields is most likely a factor.