This is a question I received in response to our blog post about cucumber beetle traps. I realized I hadn’t really explained why I’m so concerned with these and wanted to share the answer in a blog post.
“I find your cucumber beetle cups interesting. I’ve looked a little and did some shopping carts. I haven’t bought anything yet. Do the beetles do enough damage to warrant spending $15-$25 in trap supplies? I haven’t ever had an issue. but I did find some bugs today on my cucs…but they look good (for now). I also found a little of this when I was googling. “They are very hard to hand pick, but it is easier to hand pick them with yellow gloves coated in petroleum jelly.” do you think dish gloves and petroleum jelly would work too?”
– Lori from Oklahoma City
Hey Lori – I’m glad you asked this. I realize now I never really explained why I’m going through all the trouble of building traps to catch these critters. Honestly, I had the same thoughts when I first encountered them as well. It didn’t appear that they did that much damage (like a hornworm or caterpillar) so I just ignored them. What I later came to find out was that the biggest problem with them is that they spread disease. Think of it almost like a tick with humans. It isn’t the bite of the tick that causes a problem, it’s the diseases they carry and the transmission of those diseases during the bite. It works the same way with cucumber beetles and susceptible plants. The yellow glove trick would probably work, but I’ve got plants spread all across the garden and these traps save me a ton of time in hunting them down. I hope this helps!
P.S. Check to see if your local Sam’s Club has the yellow solo cups. That’s where I bought mine and got enough to last me a long, long time.
More info about cucumber beetles can be found at the links below: