Bacterial wilt is caused by both the striped and spotted cucumber beetle, which carries a bacteria called Erwinia tracheiphila. First the leaves will wilt and shrivel, then it will spread to the branches and vines. Eventually the whole plant will kick the bucket. And it all seemingly happens overnight!
This year, I planted three types of cucumbers: Boston Pickling, Delikatesse and Muncher. Fortunately, the Boston Pickling and Muncher are doing well. The Delikatesse cucumbers (which became my favorite this year) have been affected the most – most likely because they are a non-hybrid, rare variety.
Every year, I battle the beetle and lose – but this summer the beetle army is on steroids and I’ve reached Def Con 1. Unfortunately, my arsenal is insufficient because I don’t use any commercial pesticides on my garden, and I haven’t found any organic beetle juice that will send them packing. I swear I can hear them mocking me as I curse their existence.