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Organic Gardening: Squash vine borer control, anything new?

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back40bean
Decatur, GA
(Zone 7b)

July 10, 2012
9:22 AM

Post #9200326

My squash plants look great now but they are about to flower and I have a sinking feeling in my gut. I have the stems wrapped, after a fashion, but I'm not confident I'll be able to exclude them that way. I've also tried insecticidal soap with mixed results in the past. I think it worked as long as I applied it often enough. Has anyone had success controlling this pest?

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

July 12, 2012
6:10 AM

Post #9202469

Wrapping aluminum foil around the base and spreading a little around the plant on the ground is supposed to help. I've had good success using silver mulch - same idea - but you have to do that when you're preparing the row for planting.

Unfortunately then the squash bugs took over...

CountryGardens

CountryGardens
Lewisville, MN
(Zone 4a)

July 12, 2012
6:17 AM

Post #9202473

For vine borer, the best way is to watch the plants. If you see a little pile of what looks like sawdust, take a razor knife & cut with the stem. You can then get the borer out of the stem. Pile dirt on the wounded spot. Should recover nicely.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

July 12, 2012
10:51 AM

Post #9202809

I've never had any luck trying to remove a borer and then having the plant recover, which is why I try to prevent their damage in the first place. I know some people seem able to manage it, but I've read a lot of other comments from people whose plant(s) died anyway, even after surgery!
back40bean
Decatur, GA
(Zone 7b)

July 12, 2012
12:53 PM

Post #9202907

Thanks for the suggestions. I have tried surgery but I don't think I was consistently vigilent enough to make it work. I'll try to dig them out when I see them but I will add foil as soon as I can get back out there. Greenhouse_gal, are you thinking that the foil needs to exclude them entirely or is it some property of the foil that keeps them away? Thanks, again.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

July 12, 2012
4:07 PM

Post #9203126

A little of both, Back40Bean. Supposedly the reflection from the foil confuses them, but the foil also excludes them. When I use silver mulch, though, there's no exclusion; it just behaves like regular mulch, lying flat, and it still seems to make a big difference.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

July 14, 2012
6:27 AM

Post #9204754

We have just started using lures and sticky traps for both SVBs and pickle worms. Both are horrible this year.
HoosierGreen
Danville, IN

August 27, 2012
6:04 PM

Post #9256273

I've been spraying the stem bases of my squash and zucchini plants with Bt (Bacillus Thuringiensis) since the squash vine borer is a moth. Works very well, but doesn't affect squash bugs of course. So, I always check for egg masses on the leaves and have managed to keep them under control.

I've always wondered why Bt isn't recommended for SVB control.

greenhouse_gal

greenhouse_gal
Southern NJ
United States
(Zone 7a)

August 28, 2012
4:34 AM

Post #9256573

It IS recommended for SVB control; I've seen recommendations to inject it in stalks that have been invaded, too.
back40bean
Decatur, GA
(Zone 7b)

August 28, 2012
5:23 AM

Post #9256608

Thanks for the replies. I haven't yet used Bt but I'll think more about using it, maybe next year. My gardening time has been limited the past 2 months but we've managed to get a few squash to eat which is better than none.
HoosierGreen
Danville, IN

September 3, 2012
5:54 PM

Post #9263852

The instructions on my bottle of BT concentrate just listed cabbage loopers, but it's good to know some bottles are more accurate. Thanks! With our posts, perhaps it will help lots of gardeners who didn't know about it.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

September 8, 2012
6:01 PM

Post #9269338

I just got done taking that last of my 5 late squash out, and killing the dozen borers I found in them.

My dad's idea is- stick straight pins through the stem and pin the borers in place so they can't continue to eat.
back40bean
Decatur, GA
(Zone 7b)

September 8, 2012
7:13 PM

Post #9269387

I can appreciate the frustration. I pulled the last of my squash plants out last week. I can also understand wanting to stick pins in the larvae. What kind of results does he get?

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

September 9, 2012
10:34 AM

Post #9269848

I'm not sure he ever actually did it LOL
brigidlily
Lumberton, TX
(Zone 8b)

October 22, 2012
8:03 AM

Post #9312086

I think it's a good idea! Only problem is locating the little b@$%@*d. I've done the surgery to remove them with good success; I wrapped the "wound" with masking tape. Probably a good idea to cover some of the vine farther up the plant with dirt so it can form roots.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

October 24, 2012
5:20 AM

Post #9313803

I have a new solution and it WORKS! Traps and lures. They aren't expensive. Kills them before they lay eggs. Also when you're digging in the soil, you will find their cocoon(is that what it's called? where they change from a worm to a moth?) I'm using them for pickle worms also.

sallyg

sallyg
Anne Arundel,, MD
(Zone 7b)

October 26, 2012
5:20 AM

Post #9315751

Thanks Calalily-
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

November 2, 2012
5:17 AM

Post #9322562

Alpha Scents in Oregon has all kinds of traps and bait and no minimum order.
back40bean
Decatur, GA
(Zone 7b)

November 2, 2012
7:49 AM

Post #9322724

I went to their site and have a question. Do you buy lures and traps separately and then put the lure in the trap? Thanks so much for the suggestion.
Calalily
Deep South Coastal, TX
(Zone 10a)

November 3, 2012
5:25 AM

Post #9323401

Yes, you can buy either delta or wing traps (which are not hard to make at home, then all you need is the sticky insert) or you can buy the sticky cards. Moths are easier to catch in a delta or wing trap, aphids, whiteflies and other insects are attracted to the sticky cards (blue for some, yellow for others). You can also make your own sticky traps with colored dixie cups and vaseline. The lures are a pheromone, so you have to buy those.

back40bean
Decatur, GA
(Zone 7b)

November 3, 2012
10:08 AM

Post #9323625

Thanks so much. I'll give it a try.
terri_emory
Alba, TX
(Zone 8a)

January 18, 2013
8:17 AM

Post #9389102

What an interesting site, Calalily. Thanks for posting. What lure do you use for the evil aphids and whiteflies? Or are they just attacted to the color of the sticky cards?

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