Striped Cucumber Beetles, and Making a Pooter

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I found a bunch of little Striped cucumber beetles Acalymma vitatum inside one of the Cocozelle di Napoli squash blossoms. I squished these .5 cm or 1/4 inch long bad guys and looked for others but only found one on another squash plant. When I inspected my pumpkin plants I found more than 6 in pumpkin blossoms, getting it on. Yes, they were mating. After a little reading I discovered that these are a horrible, destructive pest. I had never seen one before today, or just never noticed them. Next year I will have parasitic nematodes to spray in the soil at the beginning of growing season to help control them in the larval stage. At this point I can hand pick them off of the plants (though I read that they love to fly off when approached — mine were, ahem, too preoccupied with reproducing to notice me). If they become too bad, pyrethrin can be sprayed, though I don’t like spraying anything.

OrganicGardening.com:  Striped Cucumber Beetle

OrganicGardening.com: Striped Cucumber Beetle

It is time to make a pooter. Sure would be easier than trying to capture and squish bugs with my bare hands or an unwieldy jar.

For those who don’t know what a pooter is, it is a small container with two tubes for collecting insects. I learned about the pooter when reading Usborne science books to my children many, many years ago.

I will post a photo when I get my pooter finished. If only there was a pooter that would work with slugs. A woman can dream, can’t she?

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