Corn root worm/cucumber beetle and jimson weed
Edna M Weigel (email@example.com)
Mon, 2 Aug 1999 08:52:43 -0700
I was startled recently to read that corn root worms grow up to
become cucumber beetles. I assume the reference was for either striped
cucumber beetle (genus Acalymma) or spotted cucumber beetle (genus
Diabrotica). This brings up a question about crop rotation.
Last year, I noticed jimson weed (Datura) was a "great" trap crop
for cucumber beetles (I think they were striped, but I'm not sure and I
can't find any to look at right now). I let one specimen grow in my
garden. By mid summer that jimson weed's leaves were riddled with holes
but it was taking over a lot more space than I intended. Still, I
enjoyed the lovely aromatic flowers and my cucurbits had not a beetle on
This year, I planted corn and beans in that area and have been
grumbling about jimson weed ever since. Not only did I pull out jillions
of jimson weed seedlings, but I've been digging ever deeper into the corn
patch trying to get rid of the tuber that keeps putting up shoots.
Believe me, I'll limit jimson weed to the wild flower portion of the
property in the future.
Meanwhile, my corn (desert adapted--open pollinated) isn't
showing any signs of losing root growth. Some blew almost down, but that
was in a tremendous rain storm that even broke off lots of the native
I conclude that it isn't a good idea to grow corn very close to
anything (jimson weed, wild gourds, cucumbers, etc.) that attracts
cucumber beetles, but I wonder how much distance and how long in the
rotation is appropriate. Or is corn root worm a problem only in large
mono cultures of hybrid corn that will be mechanically harvested? I'd be
interested in reactions from gardeners, corn growers, or entomologists.
Regards, Edna Weigel
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