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My turn to fight the evil SVB...

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My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  Miss M on 5/11/2011, 10:46 pm

I had never heard of the squash vine borer until a short time ago, on here. By that time, my squash plants were already a jungle, and I wasn't sure how I was going to find squash, much less bugs. So I just hoped I wouldn't have to deal with it.

Well, that didn't pan out so well. I went to water the garden yesterday evening, and I saw one of my squash plants doing the droopy-leaf thing that I had seen in so many pictures of SVB damage. Hoping against hope, I watered the garden, wishing that that was the problem, but figuring it probably wasn't.



It wasn't. So I came back on here to find out how to deal with it. I read about slicing vertically into the stem and pulling the dastardly bug out, and also about injecting the stems with liquid Bt.

I didn't have liquid Bt, so out I went with my knife, scissors, and tweezers. After cutting a few leaves off with the scissors (and finding a couple of SVBs -- *squish*), I was able to get to the base of the plant. It was mushy and soft, and cut easily, but it was filled with mucky stuff, and I couldn't tell what to think of it. I tried cutting a little higher, but it was tough, and difficult to open the slit.





A second plant:



Finally, I decided to try a different attack, since I didn't want to just slit the whole thing open. I figured that if liquid Bt would work injected inside, then maybe I could mix some of my Dipel dust with water. So I looked it up, and there didn't seem to be any information on doing that.

Then I figured that I could puff the powder inside the stem, coating the inside with Dipel dust. I thought I remembered seeing an infant nose bulb somewhere among my great-grandmother's things that we had moved out of our room so we could move in, so I went looking. I found it, but it wasn't a nose cleaning bulb. It was an infant enema bulb.



Oh, well. The thing hasn't been used in forever, and I needed a powder puffer, so off I went. After putting a good amount of Dipel dust into the bulb, I screwed the tube back on and squeezed the bulb. Out came a puff of Bt! I treated the base of the plant, which was already cut open, first. Then I began cutting holes in the stem about every 6 inches, just big enough to squeeze the end of the tube into. I would puff the dust into the hole several times, and then move on. Sometimes, a good bit of the dust came flying back out of the hole, but I'm hoping I got enough in there.



A treated hole at the bottom of the picture, and another at the top:



Tomorrow, I do the other squash plants. I already see evidence of the SVBs on them, though they haven't wilted yet. I figure I don't have anything to lose, since I'll lose the plants if I do nothing. I'll keep y'all posted. Sorry for the grainy pics... it was my cell camera, and it doesn't do as well in the shade.

Miss M

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  pattipan on 5/11/2011, 11:00 pm

I feel you pain Miss M! Keep us posted.

I'm the one who used the injection method last summer to save my squash. I found the liquid Bt at a Southern States Coop store and I got the syringe from my local Ag store. I won the battle against them last year, but then came the powdery mildew, which rendered my winter squashes leafless. I still got my winter squash though!

Why hasn't someone come up with a trap for these SVB moths yet? If I had the knowledge I would do it!

pattipan

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  elliephant on 5/12/2011, 9:17 am

Good luck! I was able to save about a third of my plants by slitting them open and digging the buggers out. My yellow crookneck in particular has recovered and started going gangbusters, better than before the "surgery"

Of course now the only 1 of my bush squash to be unaffected by SVB now has PM affraid

My Tromboncino and Tatume in a different part of the yard seem to be my best hope for the future.

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  Miss M on 5/13/2011, 6:19 pm

Okay, I'm encouraged! I treated the one plant on the 11th, and I treated the rest of them yesterday (the 12th). The first one is already looking better! I didn't expect that! It looks perky today, with just a couple of leaves showing a slight wilt!

Yesterday:


Today (fourth from left, the one that's showing off its non-wilted leaves):


In doing all this trimming, I discovered why the overflow of leaves had gotten so stressful on the bird netting:

I had not realized they had spilled out of the garden! They were so thick and lush, I couldn't find the plants!

We had been losing a lot of squash. It would bloom, then the squash would die. Some of them would survive and grow, but a lot didn't. I thought maybe they weren't getting pollinated as much as I thought they were due to the bird netting, but then I found withered fruit that hadn't even had the blooms open:


Is it the case that I would have been losing undeveloped squash because of SVBs?

Pattipan, I think I've read that yellow sticky traps are supposed to be effective when the adults are flying around laying eggs. It's good to know that the liquid Bt injections worked! It adds to the options of anyone fighting these things!

Elliephant, PM = Powdery Mildew? If so, try liberally sprinkling the plant and the surrounding ground with plain yellow cornmeal. I read that online, and tried it on my miniature roses. Worked great! Glad you were able to save some of your squash plants by surgical means. I found a couple of SVBs inside leaves, but I was really concerned (because of the way it looked) that I had quite a few more. I was afraid I'd cut the plants to bits and not find them all. I'm new at this. Embarassed

Miss M

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  Miss M on 5/14/2011, 4:29 pm

No sign of wilt on the other four plants, and the one that had wilted has only a little wilt on a few leaves, that I wasn't sure would recover.

How long before I can stop holding my breath? Could this really be working??? What a Face

Miss M

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  elliephant on 5/14/2011, 11:53 pm

Thanks for the cornmeal tip! I hadn't heard that one before.

I've had the same problem with squash failing even before the flower opens. I posted about it, but no one really seemed to have answers. Seems to be the worst when the temps are the highest, so it might just be that.

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/3/2011, 12:24 pm

How goes the fight? How are your squash doing? You did an awesome job sharing by the way, this is by far the best bug post I've ever seen, on and off the forum!

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  Miss M on 6/7/2011, 2:42 am

@FarmerValerie wrote:How goes the fight? How are your squash doing? You did an awesome job sharing by the way, this is by far the best bug post I've ever seen, on and off the forum!

Thank you, FarmerValerie! Very Happy

The first plant to show wilt did finally die, after giving us a couple more squash. The other four have survived, but most of the fruit they try to produce doesn't make it. Now that I think of it, I did forget to mound dirt around the base to encourage them to sprout new roots. I imagine that would have helped immensely!

I have had no additional visible damage to the plants, in spite of the fact that I actually SAW a SVB moth on one of the plants after I injected them with dust. So I am counting this as a success, figuring that the baby borers encounter the dust once they bore in, and that's pretty much the end of them. Twisted Evil

I will be planting new squash seeds. When they are large enough, I will replace the current plants (which are now about 3 feet tall) with the new ones. I am considering injecting dust in them from the time they are small, hoping to kill the borers before they damage the plants. From what I've read, the eggs can be laid near the base of the plant, or the bases of the leaves of the plant, so that's a lot of plant to deal with if you're going to do foil or nylons.

Like I said, I count this as a success, because the plants are still alive, and they would probably be producing more if I had remembered to add dirt. Very Happy

Miss M

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  shannon1 on 6/7/2011, 3:02 am

Yep, mine bit the dust a week ago Next year it is a row cover from the start and hand pollination.

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/7/2011, 8:20 am

Awesome! Give them time, they just may produce some produce soon.

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  Miss M on 6/7/2011, 1:36 pm

Sorry to hear that, Shannon! Sad

FarmerValerie, you think there's hope yet for a good harvest on these things... at least if I give them some more MM around the base? I'm just getting a squash now and then on them... most of them shrivel.

Miss M

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  FarmerValerie on 6/7/2011, 3:58 pm

I would add a bit more MM around the base, and for a week or so, pick off any fruit that does start to make. I have some that just shrivel up and I just pick them off.

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

Post  shannon1 on 6/7/2011, 11:32 pm

Thanks Ms.M I replanted okra in that pot of MM. It has sprouted already, so life in the garden goes on.

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Re: My turn to fight the evil SVB...

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