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Forget catnip for controlling squash bugs

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Forget catnip for controlling squash bugs

Post  ander217 on 6/7/2010, 8:36 am

In the garden last night I noticed my huge Black Beauty zucchini had suddenly wilted. I knew it had plenty of water, so I made a close inspection of the plant. I found a squash bug and promptly squashed him.

I had planted a large catnip plant right up next to the zucchini, because I read that would deter squash bugs. While looking around the zuke stem to see if there were more bugs, I pulled back the catnip to get a better look, and two more squash bugs were hiding underneath the catnip!

So, cross out catnip as a deterrent to squash bugs.

I saw no eggs on the zuke leaves, so I'm thinking the bugs hadn't been there long. Could three squash bugs have caused the plant to wilt, or do I have something else going on, too?
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Re: Forget catnip for controlling squash bugs

Post  Chopper on 6/7/2010, 1:16 pm

Occasionally with companion plant they mean it will attract the bugs so that the bugs stay away from your target plant. This is a double edged sword. I do not know if that is the role of catnip or not, but it pays to know why a companion plant is listed as helpful. In my mind if it attracts the critter you want to avoid (they call this a trap plant) that there would naturally be some spillover to the target plant. Never understood that.

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Re: Forget catnip for controlling squash bugs

Post  Shoda on 6/7/2010, 2:09 pm

Yikes another bug to worry about! I didn't know about squash bugs but I think I saw a couple in my garden yesterday when I sprayed for aphids. Guess I will stay on top of this too! Yuck. I am so sorry about your zucchini!
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Re: Forget catnip for controlling squash bugs

Post  Shreckman on 6/28/2010, 10:33 am

I'm no expert, but I had one squash bug that caused my zucchini plant's largest leaves to wilt. So I would say it just takes one to damage a plant.
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Re: Forget catnip for controlling squash bugs

Post  itsablondething on 6/28/2010, 8:40 pm

If I am correct, the bugs can actually carry a virus or bacteria (I forget which one) that causes the wilting. I know mine already started to wilt. I am trying to go organic, so that more or less elimates sprays for me. I pulled it out, and will look for a plant that is growing already in a nursery. I can get zucchini cheaply around here, but I like to grow them to huge hard baseball bat size to make zucchini crisps out of to freeze.. they hold a really good texture that way, and no one knows they're not eating apple crisp!

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Re: Forget catnip for controlling squash bugs

Post  vinny09 on 6/28/2010, 10:13 pm

Had a huge issue with squash bugs last year. They multiply very fast! Let me give you an idea of how many I had to deal with. I got lazy and just let the few that I saw go on and live. Every now and then, tried to destroy eggs I found in plain site. By summer's end, I was vacuuming hundreds of them cuddled around the outside of the box to escape the Sac Valley Sun! I was doing this on a weekly basis until I finally pulled up my butternut squash! This year, I planted 2 butternut squashes with nasturtium (supposedly a deterrent of squash bugs) planted in 2 boxes next to the squash. I've also been diligent to kill squash bugs at first site. I've killed about 6 or 7 since the squash have started to grow. I also read somewhere to mound up the soil around the base of the stem, I guess to keep the bugs from sucking at the main stem? Although I'm not sure if the lower number so far is due to the nasturtium or they just haven't really made their presence known in the area yet. Anyway, another way to trap squash bugs is to place a piece of wood propped up on the box and in the morning, turn the wood over and squash (pun intended) all the bugs hiding underneath! As for the squash bugs being the culprits, I recall reading somewhere that winter squash are more resistant to squash bug problems than are summer squash. Sorry for your crop loss though and thanks for the heads up that the catnip isn't so beneficial!

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Squash bugs

Post  ander217 on 6/29/2010, 8:21 am

I've found the best control for me is diligent daily handpicking and checking the leaves for eggs. I've killed several more squash bugs on my yellow crookneck, baby pumpkins, and butternut squashes since I lost that huge zucchini plant, and I've removed several batches of eggs from the leaves. So far, so good, although the plants have been hit hard by aphids this year as well as striped cucumber beetles.

I have a bee tree right next to my garden so I'm very careful with what sprays I use, even organic ones.

I've read that pumpkins are one of the SB's favorite crops, and I unthinkingly planted butternut squash right next to my pumpkins. That may be why I'm finding more squash bugs on the butternuts than on the crooknecks which are several feet away. The SB's usually only attack the butternuts after they've killed the summer squashes.

I hadn't heard about using nasturtiums or mounding the soil against the stem. Thanks, that's two more things I'll add to my list of possibilities.
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