Welcome to the place where the war against squash bugs and squash vine borers never ends. I’m afraid that too many of us have become so frustrated with battling these pests that we’ve either given up or we’ve become resigned to the fact that yes, we will harvest a few squash from our garden each year but eventually our squash vines will succumb to these two scourges and there’s not too much we can do about it. I’ve recently awakened to the fact that “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” We can put men on the moon but we can’t overcome a couple of bugs? Give me a break!
When I did a word search on DG for “squash bugs” it returned six pages and over 500 posts where those words were used. If I wanted to learn all that I could about squash bugs from this website I don’t even want to think about how long it would take me to access and read every one of those posts. It seems to make sense to me that a simpler way would be if there was one thread in one forum that would be a clearing house of information on this topic. As I’ve half-jokingly, half-seriously stated I have made it my mission in life to try to learn about and compile as much information as I can about combating these pests and share it with as many people as I can. I also want everybody to share their ideas and experiences, what they’ve tried that worked. If we pool all of our information together in one place, I’d say that there is a better than even chance that we can come to a consensus on the best methods that work. It’s worth a try wouldn’t you agree?
In the spirit of my suggestion to have a single source for posts having to do with squash bugs and squash vine borers, I’m reposting my initial foray into internet research on the topic that I posted on a thread in the Texas Gardening forum in case you missed it. Hopefully this will start the discussions that will be a one-stop source for capturing all of the information on this topic:
I’ve decided on my plan to fight squash bugs and squash vine borers during the 2013 season and I’m still calling it “operation shock and awe”, even though I’ve backed off of my original plan of throwing everything but the kitchen sink at them (pantyhose, foil, etc.). This year I will try a strategy based on sound research-based recommendations using organic methods and if it doesn’t work, next year I will add to it non-traditional, non-research based techniques and if that doesn’t work, then sadly I’m done trying to grow squash.
The main source for my strategy came from this website:
I encourage you to read it if you are interested in the particulars so I won’t go into details here but will only give the highlights. THERE IS NOTHING NEW AND UNTRIED HERE and a lot of DGers’ posts I’ve read have said they have used these methods with varying degrees of success. Yet I’m compelled to try them for myself with a conscientiousness and persistence effort (here’s where my obsessive compulsive disorder might actually help) that I hope will cause squash bugs and squash vine borers to hold up a white surrender flag and move on to another garden.
1. Cultural practices - includes choice of squash varieties and cultivars most noxious to squash bugs and squash vine borers with careful timing of plantings (tatume, tromboncino, etc.), selections of certain types of mulches, removal and destruction of infected plants and all remaining plants at the end of the season, rotation of crops with non-cucurbit crops, companion planting with repellant plants such as catnip,, radishes, marigolds and beebalm;
2. Mechanical and physical practices - use of tightly secured and anchored gauze row covers removed just prior to female blossoms appearing to facilitate `pollination, daily monitoring of plants, hand picking and removal of bugs and eggs, and slitting of vines to remove SVB larvae;
3. Biological and botanical control practices - careful timing and early use of products acceptable in organic gardening such as diatomaceous earth, sabodilla, and neem oil prior to large population infestations.
By July I should have results by which I can judge whether my strategies were a success or a failure. Hopefully, by then I will be scouring the grocery stores in search of additional jars in which to can my harvest of squash.
I've been learning loads about how to use different hoop coverings to achieve desired outcomes like raising soil temps, or cooling/shading plants in the heat, keeping a bed dry before you need to plant it, and keeping flying, egg-laying moths off by using floating row covers (or, in my case, the bolt of tulle that's on the way...).
I found a website where this guy actual EXPLAINS in a pictorial how he uses at least 4 different hoop coverings to achieve certain outcomes in his RBs. One of the BEST RB garden websites I've ever seen!
I'm encouraged to build my squash trellis and cover the entire thing with a barrier of tulle to keep the Squash moth from getting to the plant and laying eggs on the stems. Think I'll put the plant in a container beneath the trellis, and wrap the entire pot and the lower portion of the stem. Then, I may tent the entire trellis, just until the blooms come on. Hopefully, there won't be any SVB larvae inside the stems, and the plant can have a fighting chance to develop some vegetables. We'll see...
I wasn't familiar with the word "tulle" so I googled it to find out what it is. I found this:
Tulle is a fine mesh net fabric that is best known as the material used to make wedding veils. Tulle is also used to embellish wedding gowns, evening gowns, costumes, hats, lingerie, window treatments, floral arrangements, gifts and wedding favors. This versatile fabric has been around for more than three centuries.
Would you please explain how you use this material in your gardening?
I'll be using it like floating row covers over my seedlings. If the moths can't get to the plants, they can't lay eggs on the stems!
I got the idea from reading about the SVB laying eggs on the stems (TWO cycles here in Texas), and how floating row covers seem to be one of the best front-line defenses during the egg-laying season. Tulle is pretty cheap, and, unlike floating row cover, can be used over and over again. I paid $55 (w/tax & shipping) for a 9' wide x 50 yard bolt of fabric.
The tulle will keep the cabbage moths off the cabbages and the pillbugs off the leaves as well. Hopefully, no buckshot holes...
Tulle does seem to be a cost effective alternative to using the gauze-like floating row cover material. Do you have to order it online or can you go to a fabric store and buy it?. I assume it lets through the same amount of sunlight and water (rain or otherwise) as does floating row cover?
I have used "organdy" as a row cover for years. Sun and water does penetrate.
I have a lot left over from my sewing ... and of all possible colors.
Ask your DW if she has a 40% coupon from Jo-Ann Fabrics and go crazy (If not register on-line and you will soon receive a catalog and the coupon at the end).
Any kind of light weight netting will be perfect as a row cover - you will be amazed what you can find at the fabric store.
... and don't tell that you are looking for "fine organdy or tulle" to use on your vegetable garden to discourage bugs ... just let them think you are doing a sewing project ...
ORIGINALLY POSTED 3/5/2013 by Hrp50:
Gymgirl & drthor,
At this stage in my life I don't care if the fabric store clerk wonders why I'm buying tulle. :)
Is fine organdy the same as or just similar to tulle in cost, in it's use for this purpose ?. It sounds as if tulle would not any provide any protection against the temperature while I've read that gauze floating row cover holds in some of the earth's heat by not allowing it to escape into the atmosphere, thus the temperature stays 3 to 4 degrees warmer underneath than the outside temperature . Is that your understanding? I guess that would be one advantage of using floating row cover as 3 or 4 degrees of warmth just might make a difference in whether or not plants suffer cold damage. Again I assume you would use the tulle over the perforated plastic as tulle by itself won't slow down the wind? I think that my brain is leaking out of my ears trying to absorb all of this.
FWIW, I think the tulle might outlast the FRC by about 2 days, only because there's little chance of tearing it...LOL!
Not worried about frost protection. By the time I put my warm weather veggies out under the tulle, it'll be warm enough.
Not in any hurry at this point for that group. I learned my lesson last season with wasting water and ferts on okras and bell peppers that just sat and sulked until it got good and hot enough for their liking! Same for the squash. I'll start seedlings indoors, and once they're big enough to withstand an attack of the SVB, they'll go outside immediately under tulle that is secured around the bed on ALL sides. Might even use some duct tape...LOL!
Again. Moth can't reach the stem, moth can't lay the eggs!
I use the organdy as a "row cover" ... to protect only from bugs - it doesn't protect plants from cold or heat or water.
It is a fine mesh that lets the air and the sunshine inside and keep the bugs out.
You are confusing with a frost cloth. When you go to Jo-Ann fabric you can feel with your hands the texture of the fabric and understand its purpose. You can also look around and fine some fine netting that you may love much better (trust me - I know fabric)
I did use organdy as a cover a few years ago with the baby cucumbers ... but I found out that I don't really need it on them.
I plan to use it on my zucchini this year ... or maybe I will let you try it first ...
I read somewhere in one of the articles that part of the purpose of tilling/disturbing the top layer of soil is to disturb those pupae so other predators can get to them before they become moths and start laying eggs on your squash...
The article also recommended cleaning up areas where the overwintering moth might go to hide and pupate(?). Like under leaves, old boards, dark, quiet, undisturbed places where they can be "snug as a bug in a rug!"
I’ve copied some of what I found on the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service website:
The squash vine borer overwinters as a full grown larva or a pupa 1 to 2 inches below the soil surface. If it has not already done so, the larva pupates in the spring. Adult moths begin to emerge about the time the plants begin to run and moth flight continues through mid August. The adult squash vine borer is a stout dark gray moth with 'hairy' red hind legs, opaque front wings, and clear hind wings with dark veins. Unlike most moths, they fly about the plants during the daytime, appearing more like a paper wasp than a month. The small brown eggs, laid individually on leaf stalks and vines, hatch in 7 to 10 days. The newly hatched larva immediately bores into the stem. A larva feeds for 14 to 30 days before exiting the stem to pupate in the soil. There are 1 to 2 generations per year.
My observation: The reason that adequately applied row cover works is that if the flying moth can't get under or through the row cover, then it can't lay its eggs and it goes away to your neighbor’s garden.
"You can also use yellow trap pans to detect squash vine borer adults. This can be any container (e.g. pan, pail, bowl) colored yellow and filled with water. Because squash vine borer adults are attracted to yellow, they will fly to the container and be trapped when they fall into the water. Place traps by late June, checking your traps at least once a day. When you notice squash vine borer adults in your traps you know they are active and it is time to take further action"
Of course the June date posted here would depend on your area.
the article you read it is correct. The SVB does over-winter in the ground.
It is really bad luck if it comes up right where you have your plant ... otherwise the SVB is going to come up and fly around ... it can fly as far as a mile smelling the squash plant.
As soon as the SVB borer finds the plant, it starts to lay down eggs everywhere ... mostly under the stem and leaves and where you cannot see them.
I did try to pick the eggs up with sticky tape and I turn around and the SVB is laying eggs right where I just remove them. It is a monster!
So if you can grow the plants under a cover and keep the bugs out ... probably you will have zucchini.
But we are talking about a "smart" bug ...
Anyway ... I am talking from experience and I can spot a SVB 50' away now.
I hope somebody will find a solution.
You’ve cited the source of a good explanation of how to manage squash vine borers in the home garden. So let me review what I’ve learned so far. It seems as if controlling squash vine borers shouldn’t be all that difficult and may be as easy as covering plants with row covers the correct way and at the right time. So why have I failed so miserably at it in the past? I know one reason is that I never knew before what the moth looked like or when they were active so I never observed the flight of the moth stage flying around my squash plants. Therefore, how would I know when the time had come to cover the plants with row covers? If my timing was off or I did a lousy job of securing the row cover so that the moths still laid their eggs, I didn’t know what the eggs looked like or where to look for them to start removing them. If I also missed the eggs and they hatched and the larvae started burrowing into the stems and left a “frass”, I probably wasn’t looking at my plants every day so I wouldn’t have as a last resort an opportunity to slit open the stem, remove the larvae and maybe save the plant.
It sounds as if I have several opportunities to intervene before my squash plants keel over and die from squash vine borer damage if only I am more diligent about doing what needs to be done and my timing is accurate. Suddenly I don’t feel so intimidated by these cretins.
Now this may be more information than many of you want but for hrp50 I am including this. I had never even heard of degree hours in association with vegetable and fruit pests. I found this very interesting! 950 degree days for squash vine borer by the way.
ORIGINALLY POSTED ON 02/27/2011 by Calalily on the "High Yield Gardening: Intensive Farming" forum...
[For] Squash vine borers, use one tablespoon sulfur at planting time. Do not use it on the stems or leaves of plants, but add to soil when seeds are planted. Row covers work to help lessen the SVB, but remember squash need bees for pollination. We cover squash with hoops, then row covers only over the top [of the hoop] (ends are [left] open).
This allows bees to enter, because once they find the squash, they go down the row pollinating then fly out the other end. Moths tend to fly in from the top and run into the row cover and leave, but if they find their way in from the end, they will lay eggs. (at least that is my theory)
I had a terrible time keeping up with SVB's and cucumber beetles last year. This is the number one reason why I have decided NOT to grow vegetables this year. If the darn bugs can't find food, they will either go elsewhere, or die of starvation.
I am fortunate in that there are no other vegetable gardens close to us, otherwise this approach would not work.
I do have to agree with Callalilly treat the soil don't know about the sulphur tho not organic but natural for the most part ..But remember that a lot of sulphur is from the scrubbers on coal fired generating plants
Here's a suggestion I received from Calalily in the Organic Gardening Forum from Oct 24, 2012:
[quote="Calalily"]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.[/quote]
Here's a link to the forum if you want more info on obtaining the lures and traps.
I always suspected those cocoons I found in the soil each spring when I weeded were probably up to no good, so I have always destroyed them!!! I'm glad to finally know what they harbored and will be even more vigilant this year. Thanks, Honeybee, for the link. Interesting point about the lures luring other undesirable insects as well. Perhaps they should be placed a distance from the plants needing protection. There always seems to be an upside and downside to everything!
I don't have any chickens, but I am wondering how effective birds in the garden would be againt squash bugs. I think I will move a bird feeder closer and put another bird bath closer to the future squash plants.
drthor - If I could get someone to build me a chicken house, I'd have happy chickens.
Seedfork - I believe wild birds DO help in the garden. We've had a very cold winter here. When I sowed a row of peas last Monday, I didn't see any moth cocoons, from which I am assuming the birds, or another benevolent creature ate them. I often see Brown Thrashers digging in the raised beds.
My chickens will eat squash bugs, but they'll also eat tender young plants, berries, peas, whatever, and while they're doing that they scratch up my paths and my mulch and make a general mess of my garden. At the end of the season if I'm pulling up infested squash plants I can throw them into the chicken yard and watch with some satisfaction as the hens pursue and eat each one. Alas, it doesn't work while I'm still trying to get squash!
Nah, we tried guineas; they didn't work either. We ran guineas with our hens for a while. A friend had recommended them for insect control, particularly for ticks which are a problem around here. However, they got into our garden and seemed to prefer the bean and zucchini buds to bugs; I got no fruit as long as they were around. They are also noisy - "GeGANK geGANK geGANK!" Our poultry yard is on the other side of our garage across the driveway, so it wasn't as bad as the Fowler's toads in the pond right under our windows, but still they did make a racket.
They are stupid, too. They did finally learn to go into the henhouse at night for protection against nighttime predators, but not until we spent weeks corralling them and stuffing them through the little door in the evening. Eventually they started to get the idea, and we would stand outside waiting for the last one to sally in so we could shut them up. All of them would be safely ensconced inside when a random thought would flicker through one pea-sized brain and it would decide that it had something urgent to do out in the yard. All of the others would follow suit and we'd have to wait all over again until it occurred to them, "Hmmmm - dark. Should be inside. Hmmmmm." I used to stand there doubled over with laughter. They finally did figure out the routine, but still, I have never seen anything so witless yet mobile in my life. We ended up giving them to our friend who recommended them to us, where they got picked off by foxes and eagles since she doesn't lock hers up at night.
You can probably tell that I don't recommend them. They taste good, though.
One of our roosters puts the hens in the coop every night. He runs around their yard and one by one scares 'em into the coop. By dark, they're all in there, even if the door is open. All that needs to be done, then is go close the door. It's amazing to see. They're Barred Rock and Rhode Island Reds, and the roosters are Barred Rock.
That sounds nice, Solace. We don't have any roosters anymore; we decided that the toll they took on the hens wasn't worth it. Our chickens put themselves to bed and we also have an automatic chicken door, which is worth its weight in gold as far as we're concerned. We didn't like having to go out to close the coop up on a cold winter's night, or even on a late summer evening. And if we're going to be off the property in the late afternoon to mid-evening we don't have to worry about predators while we're gone.
I have chickens, guineas and pea fowl. Only the chickens are by choice. Everyone of them is a terror in the garden. I let them in there when nothing is planted but not after. I planted sone onions in containers covered them with wire and the peafowl still pulled a bunch out. I just stuck them back in...they have me trained.
I agree, guineas are stupid, but we don't have any trouble with them in the garden. Once in awhile if they find a tall spot they will lay their eggs there or take dust baths but nothing like the damage the chickens do.
I read through all those comments posts on the link, and the commentators warned that kaolin clay used in porcelain business is a different product than the microfined Surround WP. It is micropulverized to make it much finer grade than the kaolin you may be using. Yours may be harmful to your veggies.
Go read through the posts, before you ruin your beautiful garden...
I use pure Kaolin Clay from Germany. I don't know if you ever heard of Meissen or Dresden porcelain.
I bought a lot years ago for my business. It is 100 % pure clay ... just the best. Now the company is out of business.
I never thought to use it in my plants ...
What a beautiful place, Honeybee. How are the winters there? Is it arid or humid? North Carolina is vastly different. When I was there, coming from the four corners area of New Mexico (think dry and deserty) I felt like I was in a sea of green- walls of trees almost up to the roadways. Beautiful country, too.
Has anybody seen the Squash Vine Borer in the Dallas area yet?
My squash are growing under cover and I was wondering if I could remove it ... but I have not seen the SVB yet ... maybe it is too cold ...
I don't see that I mentioned that silver plastic mulch seems to work well in preventing SVBs. I've used it successfully for several years. I didn't bother this year and we'll see what happens. For squash bugs I've planted lemon squash, Romanesco, and Pergola Lagenaria, which is a long gourd-type vegetable, all of which are supposed to be somewhat resistant to SBs, and I have radishes, nasturtiums, and pink petunias growing in the squash row, all of which are supposed to deter them. I also read that someone ground up bay leaves and sprinkled them on the ground around the plants, and he didn't find any squash bugs afterwards. Haven't tried that one...
Probably anything with a strong scent would be a deterrant. I have a lot of wild Yarrow and some seeds of yellow Yarrow I will try around my squash, too, as well as nasturtium. I have a bunch of squash coming up in the barley bales from last spring, and some in last fall's wheat bales. I had the squash in containers last year and didn't have a problem, but I'd like to dry and freeze some this year, so am growing more. Some in bales, some in dirt surrounded with onions, and have some in hydroponics. I wonder if ground or whole cloves would be a deterrant- that's pretty loud-smelling. I wonder, too, if some plants just put off a chemical in leaves or roots that deter them.
How are the pollinators going to reach your squash blossoms if they are covered? I removed my cover the day I saw the first five or six blossoms. Then every day either I or my wife carefully inspect the squash plants for signs of squash bugs eggs or squash vine borers. No sign of them yet. The 5’ x 5’ raised bed in the picture only has six squash plants, three yellow straight-neck and three zucchini, yet it is wall to wall squash.
I read that the female squash blossom is receptive to pollination for only one day ('The Vegetable Book', author Dr. Sam Cotner, Texas Gardening Magazine), so it seems hand pollination is a good idea as long as you are hand pollinating every day. Better than leaving to chance that a pollinator will do the job. After pollination, it only takes 6 to 8 days until time to harvest.
I never got around to following my own advice and planting the squash varieties that are resistant to the two squash pests. I notice that the last time I posted to this thread, until yesterday, was March 6th. When I started the thread I was really gung-ho and intended on making frequent posts and having it be a place where I could unload my research findings and discuss my experiences and everyone could contribute with their experiences, methods and opinions for dealing with the pests. For not holding up my part of the deal I apologize. Since I haven’t been able to garden since mid-February, my enthusiasm for pursuing this task has been greatly diminished. I’m getting close to full recovery and being back on two feet again and I suspect that will re-invigorate me to resume pursuing answers to the squash bug and squash vine borer problem and I will pick up where I left off.
While it might be a little early in the season for assessment of what has or hasn’t worked, I believe it will be of interest to those following this thread to find out what others are doing.
yes, I check the flowers every morning before they close. So far all the flowers I pollinated did make a fruit,
The male flowers will stay in the fridge for a week. I normally make fiori fritti on Sunday.
I have 3 zucchini that are growing.
The plants are getting bigger ... oohhh ... I know the SVB is not active yet because I am very good at spotting it in the garden ...
How do you do the hand pollinating? Do you use a small paint brush or some other method? Have you done this in past years and can you tell any difference in the number of squash you harvested? I'm going to start doing this.
Tell us your method of finding the squash vine borer, what you look far etc.
It seems as if you are very diligent about inspecting and caring for your squash plants and that is what it takes to have a good harvest.
Have you tried using a small vacuum to remove squash bugs, at least in the small stage? I also wonder if you can remove the squash bug or squash vine borer eggs this way.
There was a picture of a mature and larval SVB, around here somewhere. I haven't seen any damage from SVBs this year at all. I have put tulle over the plants but when it blows off I don't rush to put it back on.
I have hand pollinated some but not all and I'm getting tons of Squash. I hand pollinate it by removing a male flower, then remove it petals and move it from female flower to female flower.
so far this year all the female flowers I had in the plants made a fruit.
I just pick a male flower, remove the petals and I put it inside the female flower and I leave it there.
In this way I will remember the next day that I did pollinate that blossom already.
So far I didn't have too many female flowers ... a lot of male flowers which I fry in the weekend and they are just amazing.
I think I rather eat the flowers than the fruits.
I never had squash bugs in my plants, but I saw the eggs on the plants at NHG.
The SVB looks like a red wasp. It flies really fast and it is impossible to catch unless you are fast like the "karate kid" boy.
The eggs are very small and red/brow and it will lay the eggs everywhere, especially under the leaf, around the stems and in the very bottom of the plant.
You just need one of these eggs to hatch and that's it !
I have not seen it yet this year. I think because of the cooler weather.
When somebody in TX says that they are harvesting tons of zucchini = no SVB active yet = hard to believe without pictures to proof that ... sorry
I'm having trouble examining my squash leaves because even though I only have six plants in a 5' x 5' raised bed, the plants are so big and so thick with leaves that it's possible to examine only the top growth and I suspect the eggs, bugs or nymphs would be on the lower leaves. I can't even find where the bases of the plants are without accidently breaking off a limb (?) or two. Would the plants be better off and easier to examine if I selectively removed some of the large leaves or but not too many as to damage the plants?
If all or even some of you who hand pollinate have 100% success like drthor, my next project will be to search to find if it's possible to increase the % of female blossoms produced and how to get female blossoms earlier in the season to beat the appearance of the squash bug and the squash vine borer. I have noticed that so far most of the squash blossoms on my plants are male although I do have three or four small zucchinis so there must have been female blossoms at some point
hrp50, that's the point at which my prevention program breaks down too. No way can I see or treat all the leaves and their undersides once the plants get bigger. A friend suggested putting in fewer plants, well-spaced, so that it's easier to monitor what's happening on the leaves, so that's what I did this year. The plants are just beginning so only time will tell if that helps. I've also got nasturtiums, radishes and petunias sharing the same row.
I would like to space my squash farther apart and give them the room they need so that I could get to them better. When we were planting the squash transplants and they were small my wife asked me why I was planting so few plants in the bed and even I thought maybe one more wouldn't be too many. Now I'm glad I only planted six and it probably should have been five. This is what it looked like then.
That looks good. Mine are spaced a little farther apart than that, but I used to plant several in a cluster and then space them about the way yours are now; it was impossible to see what was going on with the leaves and stems!
I wouldn't have thought to do this except that a friend who manages to harvest zucchini with organic practices says that she has success this way.
I noticed SVBs for the first time today, but they have been there for a while judging by the damage done. They are hard to treat with any type of pesticide bc they spend most of there time protected in the plant. They seem to favor the Yellow Crookneck. Maybe bc the other plants are so dense.
I have been harvesting a lot of squash I could take a pic if nobody believes me but DG has never been that way, in the past. Besides I could have just bought them. I never knew what a SVB was until I moved to TX so either you believe me, or you don't. There have got to be more important issues in the world. Lol
I do have to say that the tulle seems to work and I wish I'd been more vigilant with it. I've found squash bugs and their small, reddish eggs on the underside of some leaves. They don't seem to do near the damage as SVBs and are easier to control.
Aromatic herbs and flowers help to confuse some pests, or lure them away from veggies. I have yarrow that I plan to use this year, and nasturtium. Sunflowers are already planted in the bales with the corn, squash, and beans. The corn is about an inch high, now. You can even sprinkle things like dried mint and other fragrant herbs around to serve as deterrants. The Listadia de Gandia eggplant I put outside in the ground is already getting holes in the leaves so I might use some food grade Diatomaceous Earth on them. I did see tiny grasshopper things on some of the leaves. They could be the culprit. My one squash I set out has overcome the adjustment to the sun and is doing well, so far. The new squash is coming up, with some already getting their true leaves on the old barley bales, but I need to replant Nasturtium among them, as it doesn't look like it's going to sprout.
Ok. Squash leaves die as the plant vines along. Just remove the lower leaves til you have visibility to see the plants. Some plants if large enough survive the svb but only if that blasted moth is spotted and drawn to other traps. like yellow plates and vaseline tar pits. Squash are temp and light sensitive.
1lisac, at least you got some squash before the critters hit. The last few years I've gotten one or none from a whole row of plants. You could try planting things like zucchetta rampicante or lagenaria, which don't have the hollow stems that SVBs need, but when I switched to them the squash bugs took over instead. Very depressing!
How was the flavor and production of the two varieties you mentioned. At least by planting them you only have to fight one pest and not two. I always comsidered squash bugs easier to detect and deal with than the vine borer. Planting varieties without the hollow stem is one of the suggested ways of overcoming the squash vine borer but I just couldn't get them planted this year.
hrp50, when I grew zucchetta rampicante successfully I always liked the flavor, and it was very productive. It's a mild squash and it performs well in all the usual squash recipes. This is my first year for lagenaria.
I stopped having serious issues with SVBs when I used the silver plastic mulch, but then the squash bugs took over. My chickens love them but I can't allow them in my garden because they ruin my rows and paths. As I said, I've even tried growing parthenogenic varieties under tents, but the squash bugs still find them and with the tents it's hard to tend the plants and to monitor.
I did grow Tatume Squash last year and it was attach by the SVB while I was on a trip.
I am growing it again this year. The good thing about this variety is that grows very long horizontal branches and the plant tries to make a root every 2 leaves. That's why if the SVB attacks one section, you can always cut it off and the rest of the plant will grow,
I will watch it closer this year. I really loved the round shape of its fruits.
Picture from last August.
[quote="drthor"]"...The good thing about this variety is that grows very long horizontal branches and the plant tries to make a root every 2 leaves. That's why, if the SVB attacks one section, you can always cut it off, and the rest of the plant will grow[/quote]
(or at least have a fighting chance to keep on growing via the rooted sections)
It's the recommended squash for our growing Zone 9a.
I will keep up the fight but the zuchetta rambicante is the mainstay of my garden and the only bad pest I have with it is the blister beetle and it too has some rooting along the main vine very productive and good enough flavor..I use it in breads,pickles,and casseroles
Like most gardeners, I too have a problem with squash bugs and borers. However, as a gardener dedicated to raising the Brix (nutritional value) in my vegetables, I note that the healthier the plant (shown by higher Brix), the less it is bothered by bugs. In fact if the plants are really healthy, bugs leave them alone altogether. (Do an internet search on Brix for more information.)
Raising the Brix is easier said than done, though.
I'm in year 4 of building better soil in what had been lawn sloping down to the creek for many years, but nowhere near my goal. Of course, some of that is due to starting new planting areas each year. Older planting areas are showing signs of improvement and I had a longer growth season last year of summer squash, but we are a quick-fix society and generally unwilling to work on gradually building great soil.
I need to send soil samples to AgLabs (http://www.aglabs.com/) as they are the leader in help to build biologically active soil. Unfortunately, I can either pay for tests, or I can buy groceries; I cannot do both on my limited income.
I just read a post concerning aphids. Someone is using Vicks Vaporub on the stems of their roses, and they claim it got rid of aphids. Why couldn't one do that with other pests? It stops ants, who get stuck in it, plus the smell would be enough to confuse any bug.
I just got through spraying every plant in the house for spider mites. I used Neem oil, eucalyptus oil, dish soap, and water in a spray bottle. My poor little Listadia de Gandia's were completely infested, and I had thought the lower leaf drop was just normal, but nope, it was spider mites. Webs all over the stems and leaves and getting onto other plants as well. They had a super highway built - not kidding, I watched them move along the web...thousands of them. I may just bathe them in a sink full of the solution and move 'em outside. I hope it works. Will spray again in three days, and then again in 10. I have DE but not sure if it will work on spider mites. The big Romano bean plant that was climbing to the ceiling had them all over it, too. Now I suspect that's why the avocado lost its leaves. I sprayed them, too. I hate spider mites.
I harvested ONE zucchini today and I pollinated two more.
Lots of flowers.
Saturday I will take my zucchini flowers to a cooking class at Le Cordon Bleu.
Chef is going to teach me different ways to cook these flowers.
I normally make a batter with: 2 eggs, 1 cup of flour, 2/3 cup of white wine and 1tsp of baking soda.
Mix everything and let it seat for few hours in the fridge.
Dip the Zucchini flowers in this batter and fry. Salt to taste.
I guess your recipe would also work for frying okra so I could keep my son happy? I can picture his face if I offered him fried zucchini blossoms. He likes when I dip okra in either tempura batter or batter made with Jiffy cornbread mix but I hate the frying process and it is so unhealthy. Even though his 19 year old younger sister just had to have her gall bladder removed, he thinks he can eat all of the fried foods he wants with no consequences.
I always used masa harina with a tiny bit of flour on my frying okra - seasoned to taste- I preferred the masa to the white flour and didnt care if it fell off in the oil- fried potatoes behind the okra and squash and that cleaned up the oil. It also satisfied the younger dau on the crunchiness. Would use oleomargarine to fry in sometimes but had to be careful on not burning it...
Neem works great on Spider Mites. They are usually a big problem here but it's rained just enough to keep them away. For the moment anyway. They usually get on my beans and cukes first, I've been watering with sprinklers and that seems to have helped. I know it's not recommended but if it's not one thing it's another.
The squash bugs are really bad and the SVBs haven't gotten my other squash plants, yet. Yes, vining squash root as they go along which helps with the SVB larva but in the end they are just gross. I grow pumpkins and other winter squash, vining makes a huge difference. When is SVB season anyway?
Hrp50-I don't fry anything or eat anything fried. I just can't add all that fat. To me that's the whole point of growing veggies. Maybe THAT is why I have squash in my fridge. Lol The squash flowers don't taste too bad raw. I have found if I pick the squash really small I can eat it raw and it tastes ok.
Heavens! Raw crookneck and raw zukes are always part of salads..I try not to fry in animal grease, not as picky about veggie oils. my cholesterol just seems to have its own agenda irregardless of my efforts, Will be home by weekend. sigh. Cant wait to see how the garden is doing...
It's just one of my "things". I won't add fat to veggies except in extremely small amounts. It just seems like a oxymoron to me. BUT I know that is ME. Lol
My kids are used to everything plain too. I was so mad when one of my younger son's friends family introduced him to sugar on blackberries. He'd always eaten them just fine without it. This family obviously doesn't need any more calories in their diet.
Regarding squash, I picked more today. Zukes, crookneck, and white scallop. I lost 2 plants to SVBs. The others seem to be rebounding.
Yes, I can grow zucchini this year!
The plants grew so well under the organdy fabric: I harvested both flowers and fruits.
The only problem of using the organdy fabric or any fabric is that the max width is 55". As you can see on picture #4, my fabric was not large enough.
I decided to make an investment on a Agribon+ AG-15 - 118" x 50' from Johnny's. http://www.johnnyseeds.com/p-5455-agribon-ag-15-118-x-50.aspx
It arrived yesterday (this company is so efficient) and I was so impressed.
This cover is so light and very wide, just perfect for my new zucchini garden.
I cannot believe I wasted all of these years without this material !!
I did secure the fabric with clips on the back and with a rock in the front.
In the morning I just need to remove the rock to inspect the plants. Harvest the flowers and pollinate the female ones. It is so easy.
Hum ... that it is a very unusual size for fabric, but good for you.
The only problem with the tulle is that the SVB could lay on top of a leaf/steam that is close to the fabric, it still will be able to lay and egg through the holes.
My tulle is the same size as yours GG. I guess the SVB could lay eggs but when the plants were small the high sides on the raised bed kept the tulle above the plants and as the plants grow the tulle sets on the leaves, when it's not being blown around, that's not where they lay the eggs. I wasn't vigulent enough with the tulle but so far it seems like any easy inexpensive way that really seems to works. Everybody that has used it has had great results.
For some reason where the plants are packed in tight (my zukes) I haven't had any issues with the SVB, that might be a couincidendense.
I haven't planted any zukes or squash. The heat moved in before I got it done. Actually, just remembered I planted two squash seeds and one is growing in an Earthbox.
In researching these Pests, I could see just wrapping a length of tulle around the base of the plants. Sort of billow or bunch it against the base of the plant where it comes out of the ground. It could still foil the Squash Moth from getting to the stem to lay eggs.
I'm talking 20 yrs experience in TX and 15 in Cali. I used tulle ( I didn't keep it tacked down as well as I could have) but I've picked 10 +zukes this season along with yellow crookneck and scallop. So it seems to be working. That's the most squash I've ever gotten here and there is more setting. I've always read that they lay their eggs on or near the base of the plant so even if they laid the eggs on a leaf, the larva wouldn't do any damage.
Sounds like a good idea GG might as well give it a try. The squash aren't bothered by the heat, they love it.
I'm encouraged to go ahead and plant at least one Tatume squash plant in my 24" ePlanter conversion. Two years ago when I was experimenting with eBuckets, I retro-fitted a very large 24" planter as an eSystem, complete with a self-watering reservoir in the bottom.
The first thing I planted in it was a zucchini which grew beautifully until it was killed by a SVB. I hadn't even heard of this pest at the time (a total newbie), so, I had no clue why that beautiful plant just up and died, almost overnight. Now, I know what likely happened!
Also, it will be much easier for me to manage the plant in the large planter. And, I'll go ahead and bunch the tulle around the base of the plant all the way round the inside of the planter. Even if the Squash moth lands on the tulle, she'll never burrow past it to get to the stem of the plant!
WOOOO HOOOO, this might actually work!!!!! (unless, of course, she decides to lay the eggs up much higher on the stem -- but, everything I've read and ya'll have reported says she likes to lay them closer to the soil)
Last year I killed two female SVB moths while they were laying their eggs in the soil and I am sure that is what they were doing as when I lifted them up Viola there was a little clutch of eggs which I mashed ..Seems to me they don't need acces to the plant only some soil fairly close to it Just saying
I would make it cover the soil as well as the stem of the plant. I covered the whole bed with Tulle but as they grew bigger I had more important things to do and didn't tack the tulle down very well and the growing plants pushed the tulle off. I lost 2 plants,a third got hit but I removed the larva and the plant seems to be doing ok now. I just took a picture of the plants and will post it later.
Is there anyway you can cover the entire top of the container plant and all?
My squash seems to have put on mostly male flowers, too, but it's the only thing in my garden that is ROCKIN this summer.
If you fry things quickly, the added fat isn't really that much - olive oil or coconut oil are actually rather good for you. Grilling is still my favorite way to eat most any veggie, but fried squash blossoms are a delight. Pick them in the morning, when they're open!
I tried to skim this long thread for spinosad. Didn't see it, but apologies if I'm repeating. This is a relatively new biological control, and is sold under the name Captian Jack's Deadbug. It may be sold under other names too. I had good luck with it last year on squash bugs. It works both by ingestion and contact. I think it probably only works by contact on the smallest of those awful things. I haven't been plagued by borers, so no word on that.
In my skim I did see someone ask about plastic mulch. I used that on most of my veggie garden, but not on squash, because the squash bug adults like to lurk under the plastic.
That's normal to have more make flowers especially when they first start to bloom. The male flowers take less energy to produce and alert the pollinators that flowers are ready to be pollinated. If you do a search you will get a ton of hits. Its just the way nature works.
Drthor, one day I will have to come visit you so that I can brush up on my Italian, and my veggie growing skills. I'll even cook. I worked in several decent Italian restaurants, but my best dish is still fettuccine carbonara with zucchini fritti.
Or my nonna's bolognese "Sunday gravy", as we call it, but not much fresh garden stuff goes in there unless I can start to improve my luck with carrots. :)
Linda, I tried a few varieties in late fall/early spring. They seemed to put on growth for a week and then just fizzled out. It's our first year in this house, but I've figured out 3 things:
- The soil was just sludge from the bayou, it hadn't been gardened since before Katrina - it's basically now a double-dug "container" with new soil and compost ladled in.
- the neighbors had been trying to kill some climbing vines with Roundup, and it was running from the roof into the garden.
- the bugs had a mix of delights, including an "empty" swimming pool next door, and the other neighbors had been using heavy pest control for termites in their trees.
So I'm thinking earthboxes soon - it is tough to get things growing at all in here, but I've been composting and turning over and digging. I figure the carrots and radishes that vanished are at least helping the soil to get healthy again!
Gymgirl, I have a LOT of trouble with carrots. I've tried home-made seed tape and lots of other things; I think mostly they just need more water to get going than I typically offer them. But this year, with all the rain, I'm getting a fairly thick-looking crop, so we'll see how that ends up. On the other hand the shallot seeds I planted haven't sprouted at all...
Ah, but here's the Squash Vine That Ate New Orleans! I just spotted the first baby squash on her this morning. Yep, pulling over the "trellis" and laughing. I swear she grows a foot every time I look. Some of the leaves are the size of a waitress tray.
I've grown cushaw. The taste is good, and makes great pumpkin pies. Alas, they are so large that a lot goes to waste in my 1 person household. Occasionally I can several quarts of cubes (NOT puree, which isn't safe to can) but never use all of them. Since I live alone, I don't even make pies much anymore.
I'm growing Upper Ground Sweet Potato (C. moschata) this year, and the hotter it gets the faster it grows and the bigger the leaves get. It's a monster already and it's only June. I have no idea what I'll do with all the vines... I guess I'll trail them over the fence and let them grow out into the field, and if the rabbits nibble on them, oh well.
I think it is the mark of a good gardener to be able to plant carrots without getting them too crowed, I planted mine way to closely last year and ended up with all tiny little carrots. So I was determined this year not to repeat that mistake, so I planted a single row and started with tweezers dropping the seeds, that lasted about a minute. Then I just took a few between my fingers and rolled them out spacing them, well that did not feel like enough seeds (I said feel because I could not see the darned things) so I went back and made another pass, then added just a few more for good measure. Yep, carrots are way too close and I have lots of tiny carrots.
The problem I've always had is that my plants grow so lush that after a while I just can't check the undersides of every leaf, and that's when the critters get ahead of me. But this year I've put in far fewer plants and I'm hoping that will make it easier for me to keep checking.
I've noticed this year, but I think it's always been this way, I just never noticed that my vining (winter squash) doesn't seem to be bothered by the SVB or the squash bugs. I have spaghetti squash growing right next to the summer squash and so far there isn't a bug on them. I can't say the same for the summer squash. Has anybody else noticed this?
So in July 7th I became aware of the SVB in the stems of some plants. Never saw any signs of eggs, only saw a moth once at that time. Have since seen the moth many times and even managed to kill one.
Lots of frass and wilted leaves so I injected the stems with Spinosad.
These are pictures today of the stems of my first three (oldest) zucchini plants. You can see those stems are a mess from the borer damage but no new frass.
Part of their problem was that they had come down with horrible powdery mildew more than a week before I found the borers. Read that you should cut off affected leaves. Big mistake. I did but it did not help. Mildew kept spreading. So it took three times of spraying with the Neem to stop/control the mildew. Now I just spray all the squash with the Neem.
I just ordered " White 54 Inch Tulle Fabric Bolt 54 inch 40 Yards " from Amazon (but not directly from them). Including shipping from the vendor, $22.50 but if I'm good about bringing it inside when the season is done and washing it, it should last several years.
In the stem. Look for the frass, you will see the frass comming out of the damaged stem. Inject higher so that the spinosad would have to soak down to were the borer is. I don't think the liquid will go up but it might. I injected in multiple places so as to get everything possible. Remember the stems are hollow. You are aiming for that hollow middle. You can feel when the needle goes thru the plant wall. If you push too much it goes out the other side. I also injected healthy plants that have no borer damage. We will see how it goes. Oh and it would be best for the plants to get to the borers before the wilting.
Google Squash Vine Borer for pictures of the moth (and eggs) and Google Squash Vine Borer damage pictures for pics.
You can buy hypodermic syringes with needles on the internet. I just Googled for "Buy syringe with needle" I ended up buying here at Bulk Syringes. http://www.bulksyringes.com/
Anyone have experience with assassin bugs? It seems they always hatch in my yard just as the squash bugs are really starting to damage the ripening winter squash. (I'm growing pennsylvania dutch crookneck). Today I found some juveniles that cannot fly yet and transported them over to the squash plants. Heh heh. Soon maybe in days they will be old enough to help me kill the squash bugs.
Now these two yellow zucchini are looking very good. In spite of starting out with borers. Hopefully the injections really got them. These plants have totally greened up and are growing. I just harvested a nice yellow zuc from one this morning.
I killed a SVB moth this morning. Waited until she was committed to laying and then squished her.
I just chased - CHASED - a single SVB around my garden until I smashed it. I said a lot of colorful words to it. My neighbors have got to think I'm nuts. Fortunately, they only seem to be bothering my zukes, but the cushaw is back to only putting out male flowers again. :/
Thank you Seedfork for the link. I believe I may have seen the moth before. Though, not very often. Nola, so they behave like a wasp. Are they any bigger than the wasp? As I remember vaguely, they were not very big. I haven't planted squash before. But not too far from my garden, our neighborhood has a small community garden. There, where the community garden is, my good neighbors planted squash yearly. I think they practice rotating crops around, but the garden is quite small, I don't know if the rotation (as far as distance) was adequate to help prevent these pests from returning.
I do get this different type of 'clearwing moth' They don't seem to cause any damage in my ornamental planting very much, and I enjoy butterflies garden beside trying to plant some veggies. (be right back with a photo of the clearwing moth metioned above).
My bolt of tulle arrived yesterday, and tomorrow I plan to cover the few squash plants the yard man didn't mow down, and then the few tomato plants, hoping to avoid the brown marmorated stink bugs that have destroyed my tomatoes for the last 3 years.
I hope I'm not too late, but our season here is also late, so I'm hopeful
I just now pulled that second of the dead looking squash. I cut open the stem and no live borers but you could see all the borer damage. My theory is that the Spinosad injections did in the borer but that it was simply too late with too much damage for the plant to recover.
Found signs of frass in two of my other plants. Just a very little. I had injected them all but I went and injected those two again.
Meanwhile the plants are pumping out the fruit. Hurray!
Interesting about the squash and the SVB. I cut a leaf way back at the stem that looked damaged. Found a totally disintegrated rotting borer in there. Yeck. But dead is good. Then on another damaged leaf stem way back by the main stem I again found a borer. Live and trying to get into the main stem. Not very big. Pulled it out and killed it. Then flushed out the area with a spinosad injection.
What I have really just learned is that if you look very, very carefully you can sometimes see the entrance hole the borer makes in one of the leaf stems. Then it travels down inside to the main stem. I just found one like that just now. Saw the hole, cut the leaf stem and sure enough, there was a live and very small borer. It was way up in the stem. It is dead now!
I think I finially might have found an egg and destroyed it. I always look but never see them.
Found this place selling SVB moth traps. I never realised there was such a thing. They claim these are very effective. Scroll down the page, they sell lots of organic desease controls also. If anyone has ever tried the traps, I am sure we would all like to know how well it all worked.
If you like zukes, Lily, plant them. Get them in as soon as it's warm enough, and you'll at least get some before the SVB arrives.
Of course, you may not get SVB at all. I never did until last year... and I don't have them this year. But I'm much more sympathetic now to all the complaints I've heard over the years now that I've watched a perfectly healthy looking plant just up and die on me.
Yugg! Found a squash vine borer worm in a small zucchini today. Say on the stem of a leaf were there was frass and the zucchini fruit directly next to the stem had a hole in it. So for some reason it could not get into the leaf. I cut the fruit and cut it open. Found a tunnel drilled and then the borer which I squished. Obviously I threw away the zucchini.
Okay ladies and gents. What type of bugs that tunelling into a flower, a curcumbit flower, and deforms the flower at the juncture of the petiole? I should have taken a pic. but I was concern enough, so I picked the flower and destroyed it before it spread internally inside the vine. Those bugs are bugging me!
Ah hah! I've seen that Purdy Moth (Diaphania nitidalis) with its wagging pom pom tail before. Now, I know to shoooo the purdy thing off from my veggies. Thanks again all for sharing your knowledge and experience with me.
Update on my battle of the SVB, et al: By last fall I was completely fed up with the squash bugs and borers ruining my squash crops as well as the flea beetles destroying my eggplants. So I purchased a 4' x 4' tall pest control pop-up tent on sale. It has been the best investment!! I also bought some concrete ladders which bend easily and fit into the tent for my parthenocapic Diva cucumbers to grow on, planted 6 eggplants and sowed 4 mounds of Partenon squash. Neither the squash nor the cucumber needed any pollination. Well the tent gets a little warmer than I anticipated so the cucumber seedlings dried up twice and I think got taken out by slugs so I had to use Sluggo in the beginning. The eggplant are doing so-so but I will amend the soil much more for next year. The squash is a huge success. I have 4 robust plants and they are all giving me nice squash and are clean as a whistle in regard to bugs!! The eggplants have a few flea beetles that were probably already in the ground. Next year I will grow just the squash and maybe try the cucumbers again. Here is the link: http://www.gardeners.com/Tall-Pest-Control-Pop-Ups/40-228RS,default,pd.html?SC=YNA7200A It is not on sale yet but look for it as the summer comes to an end!!
My zucchini and squash are producing well but I do have to battle with SVB. Basicly I start new plants often, spray often with Neem. Trying to get the eggs. And I have been injecting my plants with the Spinosad.
I use a mosquito netting and bridal netting in the beginning for both the eggplants and squash but the flea beetles still manage to get in. I think the eggs are in the soil so covering them only partially helps. I have other squash not in the tent and so far so good but they get so huge that I have to remove the fabric covers at some point. While the SVB are not as much of a problem, the squash bugs can be impossible. In the tent I avoid all those problems but then am limited to growing only the parthenocarpic varieties of squash. At least I have discovered that I do get produce and that's a big plus if the outside ones fail!!
newyorkrita, your eggplants are awesome! Congratulations!! I am finally getting some but my plants don't look as healthy - flea beetles make them look ugly even though most are surviving the onslaught. We have been getting a lot of rain so spraying inbetween has been a challenge. I sprayed before with the Bonner's Peppermint Castile Soap and that seemed to work for a couple of days. Will try again after the rains!
[quote="gardadore"]What variety of squash is he green one in front? All looking good![/quote]
Cavilli. I love this variety and will definatly be growing it again next year. Parthenocarpic Zucchini so I don't need to be worried early in the year of bees will be showing up. From what I have read, this variety is much more productive than Partenon the other better known Parthenocarpic zucchini. I can tell you that it is very productive. And it tastes great!
Ironic that it turned out to be a Cavilli since I was looking up other potential parthenocarpic varieties today and thought that would be a great one to try! Glad to hear you like it so much. It does appear to be more prolific than the Partenon so I will definitely add it to next year's list along with the Partenon for a comparison. I found the Cavilli at Scheepers http://www.kitchengardenseeds.com/cgi-bin/catview.cgi?_fn=Product&_category=211
but will check out Gourmetseed as well. I have always been satisfied with Scheepers.
I am very happy with the Partenon so far.
I wish someone would develop a parthocarpic yellow one as well!!
Thanks for the info!
Raining slightly this morning but I pulled up three of my squash. Two Buckingham yellow zucchini plants which just don't look thrifty at this point. Not my favorites anyway, might not be returned next year. And one of the Golden Egg yellow squash. I had not intended to pull that Golden Egg but had no choice. The stem completely broke and you could see why what with the SVB eaten center stem.
I do have some yellow squash seedlings of one called Safron. So I will plant those out in the pots and reuse them. Those were the two types of yellow squash seeds I bought this spring from Burpee, Safron and Golden Egg. I just love the Golden Egg so want to try out the Safron also.
Good to know that Safron is a good one. I have so many seeds left in my envelopes of Golden Egg and Safron that I will be growing these same two types for yellow squash next year. But I might try a crookneck also next year. We will see.
Ladies and Gents. Bad news on the garden gate for me this morning! :(( I just found evident of SVB damage on my melon's vine. It's affecting one of my melon's secondary terminal branch. If I were to cut off the affected area, would that help the larvae from spreading? I suppose it would. But, using neem oil on the plants, would that harm the bees as well? Also, temp. is picking up here, I learned that we need to avoid using neem oil in extreme heat condition. Your thought please.
Yes, neem will harm bees, but if you apply to the plant and not the blooms, and do it when the bees are not flying, the changes of collateral damage are very small.
I agree with Rita, though -- I don't see the damage you are referring to in the pictures. Look for an entry wound. If you do find a borer, yes, cutting off the affected part of the plant will prevent that particular borer from tunneling any further. This is one case where you kill the borer and destroy the affected part of the plant, or place in a plastic bag and in the trash.
Rita and Nicole, I saw a hole at the leave node juncture, approximately 5 nodes up from a terminal branch. There are exudates (greenish of chewed up matters, and perhaps frass) at that point. The leaves below the wound are apparently wilted because nutrients can't get to that area.
I saw cucumber beetles actively chewing at the leaves and flower petals, but haven't seen them attacking the vine itself. I did find tiny holes on my melon fruits though.
Thanks to both for your responses. I've bagged some damaged leaves, vines, and fruits and I am heading out to my local County extension office for additional help.
My zucchini had to be torn out due to SVB damage, but the cushaw has grown 50' in both directions and is now almost to the second story window to boot. I can't figure out how to pull it out of its "rigging" wiout disturbing the wasps that have seemed to make their home underneath it, though! I've found all kinds of critters in the cushaw leaves, but it seems to be going stronger every day. I'm trimming it back as much as I can, but it just seems to grow more every day. The recent heat and sun and lack of rain isn't bumming it out a bit.
I have a few cucumbers still trying to make it, but they seem to have downy mildew on the lower leaves. :(
I sure hope this cushaw tastes good! At least it's shading the side of the house in the meantime. :)
[quote] ...Wilted leaves could be any number of things...[/quote] said newyorkrita. Rita, you're spot-on! However, it isn't cucumber beetles as you suspected. I was too curious whether or not those cucumber beetles were the culprits. I spent a good part of the day worked on spying on these bugs today. I cut off those wilted leaves with it stem above the damage where the portal of entry was obvious; and I was taken by surprise when I disected the stem and found the culprit! It's pickleworm larva !
This year I am growing squash/zucchini again, giving them a prime real state location on my veggie garden.
I covered them with the Agribon insect barrier.
So far so good.
I am harvesting the male flowers already.
Do you think it will be safe to keep them uncovered maybe until mid April and then cover again?
or will it be too risky? just in case the SVB is earlier ...
I have no idea when they actually arrive but I would think it would be different for every area, TX is a big state! Lol I know they over winter in the soil so some probably over wintered in mine. I keep mine covered in tulle it's so easy I'd be afraid not to do it.