Battling Squash Bugs

| 6/25/2015 10:35:00 AM

Tags: Squash Bugs, Gardening, Pesticides, Herbicides, Bees, Erin Sheehan,

Erin SheehanIf you do one thing to help out your garden this year, check for squash bugs. Last year, during the July Fourth weekend, my formerly beautiful and lush winter squash plants suddenly wilted and died back. What was once a plot full of squash vines was instead nearly empty. The plants lost about 2/3 of their size and looked terrible.

At first I thought my plants had powdery mildew. We'd had that the previous year and it also caused wilting and dying back, so I treated for it. When that didn't have any effect I started looking at the plants a little closer. I quickly found that they were covered with small dark insects. A little research told me that these were squash bugs. With a lot of hard work the plants did come back, but my yield was about half what it should have been.

This year I have vowed to stay one step ahead of those little monsters. I visit the squash patch at least every other day and carefully turn up each and every squash leaf that I can reach and search for eggs.

squash bug eggs 

squash bug eggs

When I find an egg cluster, I rip the portion of the leaf that it is on and put it in the trash. Not the compost and not anywhere near the garden! I'm not taking any chances. As the plants have grown, this process has gone from taking about 10 minutes to more than 30.

7/8/2015 11:45:31 AM

Great article and I feel for you! We live in a very harsh climate and while we don't have squash bugs we have many other challenges. I feel the best offense is a good defense. I try to start from the bottom up by making my soil as healthy as it can be. This is not an easy task. Then if my soil is healthy then I try to transplant strong sets and the best quality seed. I think this minimizes fungus and insects. The plants can fight back. But things still happen and that's when vigilance comes in. Thanks for a good tip!

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