There is a foe in our garden disguised as friend. I’ve noticed bugs on my zucchini plants that look a lot like lady bugs, only larger and rust colored. I assumed they were a variety of lady bug and I’ve been happy to see them. I started to become suspicious of them when it looked like they were eating the leaves of the plants. With a little research I discovered that these look alike lady bugs can be very harmful to my plants! IMPOSTERS! They are spotted cucumber beetles, which can be either yellow or red-orange. Cucumber beetles damage plants by eating leaves and tender buds. But worse than that, they spread bacterial wilt organism and cucumber mosaic virus. These invaders lay their eggs in clusters on the underside of leaves. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on plant roots by burrowing into the ground.
The cucumber beetle can infect other vegetables in the garden such as squash, melons, peppers, beans, tomatoes, carrots, celery, lettuce, spinach and beets, various weeds.
I’ve only notice one or two of these bugs, but now that I know what they are I will carefully inspect my plants and eradicate them and their foul offspring.