Cucumbers Have Little Worms On Stems And Are Dying

Question From: D. Pearl - NEW YORK
Q: Hi Nancy! I have been trying to figure out what's going on with my cucumbers for years, and I would love to get to the bottom of it. I wonder if you can help me... I started out the season with 5 healthy vigorous plants, grown from seed. Now I am down to just 2, and it won't be too long before they are gone too. At the start of the season, I invested much energy trying to make sure cucumber bacterial wilt would not return. (If in fact that's what it was.) So I cleaned all the pots (they are all in pots) and the cages with alcohol, and bought totally fresh soil, and kept the tools separate. Everything was fine until a month ago, when some of them started to have wilted sections, (photo #1) and then very suddenly the whole plant would shrivel and die. Looking for suspects, I found some little worms on an actual cucumber fruit. (Photo #5) Then I saw them again on the stem of one of the plants, at its base, and noticed that the base was quite damaged. (Photo #2 shows base of stem with damage. Although I wasn’t able to get the worms in that photo.) Now my only two remaining viable plants seem to be going the same way. I am carefully cutting off all the leaves and sections that are wilting, and cleaning the clippers each time. But more and more of the plant is wilting. And the base of the stem where it meets the earth is looking more and more fragile. (I have one more photo of a beetle that I found on the plant, but no room to upload here.) I would really like to figure out what’s going on, and be able to grow cucumbers properly. I’ve been trying for years, and this keeps on happening. Is it cucumber bacterial wilt? Is it something else? Someone suggested cucumber worms, but I haven't been able to find enough diagnostic info on them. I would so much appreciate any help on this. Much obliged, Davina Pearl (I am actually north of New York State, in Ottawa, Ontario. I just realized my postal code didn't work, so I used this nearby zip code... I hope it's okay.)

A: Here's the information I found on cucumber beetle, so that is your problem. *Cucumber worms*, the larvae of the *cucumber* beetle, are yellowish-white in color with a brown head and rear, and three pairs of legs. *Cucumber worms* can grow up to 3/4 inches long. They attack *cucumber* plants by *eating* the roots and burrowing in young plant stems, which causes the plant to wilt and die.They also spread cucumber wilt. Google how to get rid of cucumber beetles. My suggestion is to cover the plants in floating covers. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy