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Squash bugs

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Squash bugs

Post  carolintexas on 5/11/2010, 3:19 am

I have planted yellow squash and zuchini. I hear that squash bugs will be plentiful and out to destroy my plants. How do I control them? If a row cover is the answer what is the cheapest thing I can use to make one and do I leave it in place until the squash is ready to harvest? Thanks in advance for all advice.

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Re: Squash bugs

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/11/2010, 8:27 am

A row cover will not allow the bees through to pollinate. I use Neem oil or soapy water to wash off the eggs, but some just hand pick the adults (yuk!).

Here's a pretty good article with pics so you know what you are looking at.
http://www.vegedge.umn.edu/vegpest/cucs/squabug.htm

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Squash bugs

Post  ander217 on 5/11/2010, 9:09 am

Hand picking is the only thing that's ever worked for me, but I keep trying new things. This year I'm planting catnip plants next to each squash and pumpkin except one zucchini to use as a comparison. I'll let you know if that helps.

Each morning I go to the garden wearing a pair of gloves, and carrying a can of soapy water. If I see an adult I grab it and kind of mash it before throwing it in the can. If I see a cluster of eggs I pinch them with my gloved fingers, or sometimes I tear that piece of leaf off and roll the eggs off into the soapy water. The eggs are sometimes hard to smash while on the leaves, and some will roll off to the ground intact, especially as they darken near hatching time.

You have to be diligent and check daily for this to work. The best I've been able to do is keep them in check long enough to get a good crop of fruit before they finally get ahead of me (usually when we go on vacation) and destroy my plants. We're usually tiring of squash by the time that happens, anyway.

I'm not sure why they say butternut squash is resistant. I raise butternut squash each year, and after the bugs kill my summer squash and zucchini, they move to the butternut and eventually they will devour it, too, even feeding on the fruit. They seem to prefer other varieties, but they will happily eat butternut when none other is available.

I'm raising summer squash and baby pumpkins on the trellis this year, and I hope that will help control them - if nothing else, at least I can see them more easily to handpick.

BTW, after leaving the squash plant, my soapy water and I move to the potato patch and drop any potato beetle larvae we see into the soapy stew.
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Re: Squash bugs

Post  carolintexas on 5/11/2010, 9:25 am

Oh, those disgusting things but I am glad to what they look like and how to look for the eggs. The article Belfrybat suggested was very helpful. And Ander217...Thank you for your detailed directions...exactly what I needed to know...what to do and how. I'm off to get catnip seeds/plants!

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Re: Squash bugs

Post  miinva on 5/11/2010, 10:03 am

I found some beautiful catnip plants at my local nursery! Smile The book Tomatoes Love Carrots suggests steeping catnip and then sprinkling the water on greens to get rid of flea beetles, so I think I'll try that on squash bugs and see if it helps. Last year they devoured our zucchini and yellow squash, but we got about 40 pattypan squash before they found those plants Smile

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Re: Squash bugs

Post  Farmer Hill's wife on 6/3/2010, 10:22 pm

I finally figured out tonight that those bugs all over my zucchini plant are NOT stinkbugs! First thing in the morning I will be washing down my leaves and handpicking those buggers off. I hope it's not too late to save my zucchini and also prevent them from ruining anything else.
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squash bugs

Post  ander217 on 6/8/2010, 3:01 pm

I found this really good article on controlling squash bugs and borers:

http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/squash_pest.pdf

Bottom line: row covers are best
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Re: Squash bugs

Post  Megan on 6/8/2010, 6:02 pm

You all have me terrified now. pale I have been checking my squash (and cuke and watermelon) leaves morning and night and have seen nothing on them but a few ants. My biggest squash has some new growth just starting that MIGHT be buds... we'll see.

Time to plant a few more onion sets.... and I think I'm going to re-pot my catnip plants and see if I can't encourage them to grow bigger.
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Re: Squash bugs

Post  Farmer Hill's wife on 6/15/2010, 9:47 pm

I got so frustrated, I dug up the horrible looking plants. I've been checking daily for any more signs of them. I also planted another zucchini seed in my box. I think we have a long enough summer to still get some zucchini, if I can stay ahead of the bugs. Wish me luck!
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