Cucumber and Gherkin crops – optimising quality and yield the proven biological way

Roadmap to Sustainable Growing

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a typical semitropical plant considered native to Southern Asia. Very quick growing, cucumber crops often have 2 to 3 cycles a year. With several types available, classification is generalised - slicing cucumbers, pickling cucumbers (gherkins) and long cucumbers.

Biological products are the way forward and, as such, have become an essential component in the cultivation of sustainable, quality cucumber and gherkin crops worldwide.

Our skilled technical advisors are here to help you get the most from your pollination strategies and integrated pest management (IPM) programmes, tailoring them to the specific needs of your crop. We set out to deliver the best possible return on investment.

Our team will help you: 

  • optimise crop quality, yield and cost-effectiveness
  • comply with strict regulations 
  • meet consumer demands for residue-free crops 
  • provide long term sustainable solutions 
  • prevent pests and diseases building up resistance to the limited range of chemical crop protection products available.

Ultimately this delivers benefits, including: 

  • higher value crops – premium products
  • greater range of market opportunities
  • improved safety for crop workers, consumers and the environment.

Prevention and monitoring

Prevention is the first building block for an effective IPM programme. Following best practice, where possible you should aim to start with a pest-free crop; employ good hygiene measures; and maintain an environment favourable to healthy plant growth.

The next building block is preventative biological control. Where appropriate, you should establish a ‘standing army’ of beneficials forming the first line of defense.

You need to regularly scout and monitor cucumber crops for pests and diseases. While helping to detect issues as early as possible, it enables the biological balance (population of pests and beneficials) to be closely monitored. As a result, data-driven informed decisions can be made regarding the most appropriate control strategies. Working with Biobest you can rest assured you have access to the latest labour-saving cost-efficient technologies and high-tech scouting options. 


Gherkins do not require pollination. Most commercial cucumber varieties have only female flowers and therefore develop fruit without fertilization (parthenocarpic properties) – making pollination unnecessary.

Only non-parthenocarpic cucumber varieties require cross-pollination. Bumblebees – employing ‘buzz’ pollination – can add significant value to these varieties, optimising yield (by reducing fruit drop) and delivering quality improvements.

A unique method of pollination, bumblebees vibrate (buzz) their wing muscles at a frequency of 200-400 Hz. This in turn causes anthers to vibrate, releasing large amounts of pollen onto the bee.With larger, hairier bodies than honeybees, bumblebees deliver higher quantities of pollen to the crop flowers while having greater contact with them.

Effective pollinators of non-parthenocarpic cucumber flowers, bumblebees deliver:

  • improved fruit quality – increase fruit set and firmness 

At Biobest we offer a wide range of bumblebee hives.


When pests or diseases start to build up beyond a tolerable threshold, you’ll need curative biocontrol solutions. These can take the form of programmed introductions of macroorganisms (such as beneficial insects, mites and nematodes) or biopesticides (based on natural substances and microbials). Tailored to the situation in your crop, our technical advisors can recommend the most appropriate products and rates to use.

Should the pest-to-beneficial balance be disrupted, a corrective treatment may be required, ideally using a bio-rational pesticide. Only as a last resort do we recommend localised spraying of a conventional pesticide. Where possible, it should be compatible with biocontrol agents, i.e. selective and with short persistence. To reduce the risk of resistance, growers should not repeatedly rely on the same pesticide or pesticide group. 

Our knowledgeable team is eager to advise you!


Fast and accurate scouting, personalised IPM advice.

The Crop-Scanner App is ready to increase your scouting efficiency! The Crop-Scanner App is available in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Morocco, the UK, Canada and the USA. Other countries will follow soon.

Get in touch

Contact Biobest