Cucumber with holes : What causes holes in cucumbers

There is nothing more disappointing than cucumbers with holes in them. Picking a cucumber with a hole in it is a fairly common problem. What causes holes in cucumber fruit and how can they be avoided? Read on to find out.

What causes holes in cucumbers?

Some cucumbers are almost hollow inside, which is usually due to insufficient irrigation or lack of water. However, a cucumber with holes that screen it is most likely due to some kind of insect.


In my region, the Pacific Northwest, the most likely culprit for cucumber holes is perhaps the slug. These guys will eat almost anything and will poke holes in green, ripe fruit. However, spraying a little slug bait around the plants will probably keep them away from your cucumber plants.

Cucumber beetles

As their name suggests, cucumber beetles can be very harmful not only to cucumbers but also to other cucurbits such as melons, pumpkins and squash. Cucumber beetles have no preference and they destroy all parts of the plant, from the foliage to the flowers and fruit. They are found throughout the growing season (June-September), but they are more likely to cause scars than holes in the cucumber.

In addition, the cucumber beetle transmits cucumber bacterial wilt. Bacterial wilt overwinters in the intestines of the parasites and then spreads from plant to plant as the beetle feeds. Some new varieties of cucurbits are resistant to this disease.

There are several types of cucumber beetles. The cucumber beetle is yellowish green, with 11 black dots on its back and a black head with black antennae. The yellow striped cucumber beetle is 15 inches long, with three black stripes on the upper wings. Finally, the striped cucumber beetle has yellowish green stripes on its wings.

Collecting these pests by hand is time consuming but effective. Otherwise, the use of cloth row covers provides an effective barrier between the pests and the plants. Keep the garden free of weeds so the beetles have fewer places to hide. There are also predatory insects that can help eradicate beetles. An application of Neem oil or Pyrethrin can eradicate pests, as well as a number of chemical pesticides.


Finally, gherkins can be the cause of cucumbers with holes. Gherkins attack most cucurbits – cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and summer squash can be severely damaged by the voracious appetite of gherkins. Gherkins are not fussy and pass not only through the fruit, but also through the flowers, buds and stems. Damaged fruit is not edible.

In warm regions, gherkin worms overwinter, while in colder regions, the parasites freeze over the winter. They go through a complete cycle of egg, larva, pupa and adult. The eggs are irregularly shaped and resemble grains of sand. They are laid in small batches on leaves and hatch in three to four days.

The resulting larvae feed on the shoots, flowers and tender foliage before moving into the fruit. These brown-headed caterpillars shed their skin four times. During the last moult, the caterpillar loses its reddish-brown spots and becomes completely green or coppery. It then stops feeding and transforms a cocoon into a nymph. The nymphs are usually found on a coiled or twisted leaf and emerge as adults in seven to ten days as brownish yellow moths with a hint of purple.

Choose early maturing varieties and plant as early as possible before the pickle population explodes. Another way to control populations is to destroy any damaged fruit and crush any curled sections of leaves containing pupae. Less toxic or natural controls include Bacillus thuringiensis, pyrethrin, Neem oil extract and Spinosad, as well as other chemical pesticides.

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