Thursday, May 21, 2009
Striped Cucumber Beetle
This is the Striped Cucumber Beetle (Acalymma vittatum). They are found throughout the Eastern United States. These are a small beetle at around 1/4 of an inch in length and very beautifully marked. All over yellow with three black stripes on their elytra (wings), and a black head. They are common in agricultural areas and near gardens. The ones pictured here were near my in-laws garden, in Fillmore, MO. Mating takes place in spring, and the female will lay her eggs in the soil at the base of food plants, the eggs hatch and the young larva feed on the roots of plants. In the case of this beetle the food of preference is melons, cucumbers, squash and other vining plants. The adults will chew holes in the leaves from the underside and leave a "Window Pane" effect. This causes significant damage to the plant and can cause the leaves to wilt and turn brown, often killing the plant. In large numbers these beetles can be detrimental to a garden or agricultural crop of these plants. These beetles are also know to spread bacteria wilt to plants, it is spread through the wounds left b ehind from the beetle feeding. Pretty to look at but frightful in large numbers to the gardner who cherishes his melons.