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Cucumber Beetle, Spotted

Spotted cucumber beetles munch on a wide range of plants. The larvae, known as Southern corn rootworms, feed mostly on corn.


Adults are greenish yellow, elongated beetles, 1/4 inch (6 mm) long, with 11 black spots. Larvae are slender, white, and up to 3/4 inch (2 cm) long, with brown heads and brown patches on first and last segments.


Throughout southern United States and Canada, east of Rocky Mountains.

Plants Affected

Corn, cucumber, peanut, potato, and many other plants, including ornamentals.


Larvae feed on roots, often killing young plants; older plants are weakened and fall down easily. Adult beetles eat holes in leaves and chew on fruit skin. Larvae and adults transmit cucumber mosaic virus and bacterial wilt diseases.

Life Cycle

Adults spend the winter under crop debris, emerging in spring to lay eggs in soil close to plants. When eggs hatch, larvae feed in roots and crown of plants for 2-4 weeks, then pupate. One or two generations per year in Northern areas, three in the South. Northern populations migrate north and south with changing seasons.


Plant resistant cucumber, squash, and melon cultivars. Rotate garden crops with cover crops. Remove and destroy crop debris to eliminate overwintering sites. Cover plants with floating row covers (hand-pollinate flowers to get fruit).


Spray or dust plants with pyrethrin or rotenone to control adults. Apply insect parasitic nematodes to soil weekly to control larvae.

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