Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Green Ladybugs - Spotted Cucumber Beetles




"Green Ladybugs" honey bees and butterflies feast on thistle nectar high in the Great Smoky Mountains. These pretty green ladybugs, are not really ladybugs at all, but Spotted Cucumber Beetles! They are native and non-invasive and normally live quiet lives in the forests and meadows doing little damage, but when they invade backyard gardens and farms they become a serious agricultural pest. There really are no greenish ladybugs - ladybugs are more "rounded" and have very short antennae compared to the cucumber beetles.

Those Aren’t Green Ladybugs!
If you find little chartreuse-colored beetles that look like ladybugs
scurrying around your vegetable garden or in among your roses, they’re
not your friends! Most likely they’re western spotted cucumber beetles,
Diabrotica undecimpunctata.
Cucumber beetles are very common pests in vegetable gardens and may
also attack ripening stone fruit. The western spotted cucumber beetle is
greenish-yellow and has twelve black spots on its back. Sometimes confused with predaceous lady
beetles, they can be distinguished by the antennae - lady beetle antennae are short and stubby; while those of cucumber beetles are long and threadlike. Adult beetles are shiny with black heads; larvae are whitish and slender with three pairs of short legs; the head and tip of the abdomen are darker.
Adults feed on the leaves of many vegetables as well as on soft fruit,
shoots and blossoms. They may also spread cucumber mosaic virus or
wilts in cucurbits. Larvae feed exclusively on roots, but do not generally
damage garden plants, although corn may occasionally be damaged.
Management of cucumber beetles is difficult. Most older plants can
support substantial numbers without serious damage. The best strategy
for most vegetable gardens may be to place protective cloth over
emerging plants and remove it when plants are old enough to tolerate damage. On stone-fruit trees, early harvest may be the only option. Various general predators are known to attack cucumber beetles. http://ucanr.edu/sites/MarinMG/files/147777.pdf

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Green Ladybugs - Spotted Cucumber Beetles