GardenSMART Newsletter Signup
 
Visit our Sponsors!
Visit our Sponsors and win.

WHAT’S BUGGING MY CUCUMBERS?


Anne K Moore
Photographs Anne K Moore


Not to brag, but I have an extensive library of gardening books. They help me with research and help to confirm my opinions and growing experiences. None of this was of any help when I discovered holes with yellow yuck stuff oozing out of my cucumbers. I finally found a reference to pickleworm in one of my books, but no information was entered on what the moth who laid the eggs looked like, what the eggs looked like and where to find them, or how to stop the damage.

We are fortunate to have the internet and Google at our disposal. There is good information online. It turns out that there are really no controls but there might be a solution if we get started early enough with preventative measures.

Bag the fruit!
An organic control of pickleworm was tested in Brazil and written about back in 2000. It might be applicable in our backyard gardens if we are willing to protect the newly pollinated flower with a bag. Paper bags were used in the trial and they were 50% more effective than pesticides even though many of them broke open or disintegrated due to rain. These sites offer the trial information: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/resources/research-curation/projects/chalcidoids/pdf_X/LiHaNe2000.pdf and http://centralfloridagarden.blogspot.com/2007/05/organic-control-of-pickleworms.html

Trying to raise vegetables and fruit organically sure has its tribulations and is not always easy. I’m not sure I want cucumbers enough to bag them after every rain. I leave that up to you to decide if it is worth it.

These sites have good photos and/or illustrations, especially of the moth. http://ipm.ncsu.edu/ag295/html/pickleworm_melonworm.htm The Florida site,
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/pickleworm.htm also shows the damage pickleworms do to summer squash blossoms.


I did manage to get several mature cucumbers from my vines, but not any from the so-called “burpless” long skinny Oriental cucumbers. They were attacked as soon as they reached a good size for eating. I do wonder if letting one of the cukes over-mature on the vine could have led to my problems. One turned fat and yellow while we were out of town for almost 2 weeks. Before that, I noticed no worm activity. When I returned, they were devouring all the fruits on the vines.

When I first read about the pickleworm frass, that yellow yuck stuff oozing out of the cucumbers, I pictured the worms backing up to the entry holes to do their “business”, sort of housebroken worms in the garden. However, when I opened up the cucumber, I saw that it was oozing because there was so much of it. I say again – Yuck!

Posted August 16, 2013


All articles are copyrighted and remain the property of the author.

Article URL:
http://www.GardenSMART.com/?p=articles&title=Whats_Bugging_My_Cukes


Back to Articles List                               


   
 
FEATURED ARTICLE
GardenSMART Featured Article

By The Espoma Company, Photograph courtesy of The Espoma Company

Seeing tiny seedlings bloom into amazing plants full of color is the best part about gardening, and the reward for all the hard work. It's nice to be able to enjoy those rewards indoors, too, using the flowers in arrangements. It's easy to bring the essence of the outdoors inside. All you need is a cutting garden. Read more...


  Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!  
   
   
   
 
   
Copyright © 1998-2012 GSPC. All Rights Reserved.