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Beginner Vegetables: my arch nemisis- the evil SQUASH BUG!

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lisaoliver
Foristell, MO
(Zone 5b)

June 23, 2007
2:14 AM

Post #3647531

Please , if anyone else knows some kind of relief from this bug share it. I read the info. in bug files and all the responses there there agreed with me, this bug will destroy your garden! I have them again this year, they come so quick! last night everything is A.O.K. tonight adults, nymphs and eggs everywhere. I dusted and sprayed with pyrethryn, I hope it will hold them off till tomorrow. I try so hard to garden organically, but this thing devours everything in it's path. Am I doing something that might encourage it? Any help is appreciated. Lisa
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

June 24, 2007
12:58 AM

Post #3650459

Killing them works. You need to catch them and squash them. Wear gloves or fold the leaf over top of the bug. The teenage ones look just like the adult ones except not quite as big and they are a light gray.

Look on the leaves, especially the under side. You will find little gold-colored round eggs. Get rid of these, too.

Here's a link:

http://davesgarden.com/bf/go/82/

Good luck,

Karen
lisaoliver
Foristell, MO
(Zone 5b)

June 24, 2007
12:26 PM

Post #3651841

That's what I've been doing.Last year I didn't know about how terrible they are and was not as concerned about destroying them. By the time I discovered their resistence to organic controls my cucurbits were history. This year I paniced at first site of them and crushed everyone I saw, checked the underside of every leaf and crushed or tore out the eggs. I sprinkled all the squash with pyrethryn and put boards all around them. So far so good. I bought a back up pesticide (sevin) just in case I became over run , but I think maybe catching it early may have been the key to control. Now I wonder how long I have to keep this up- the rest of the season or do they sort of have a season and go away (wishful thinking perhaps?) Thanks for the reply!
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

June 24, 2007
2:22 PM

Post #3652252

I haven't heard of a pesticide cure for them, but maybe there is one. The only way I've heard of keeping them under control is by hand picking like you've been doing.

daphnecat
Mays Landing, NJ
(Zone 7a)

July 1, 2007
3:07 PM

Post #3682011

Garden cleanup at the end of the season is an important pest control. Pyrethryn is the recommended pesticide. You don't mention if you have beneficial bugs on patrol? Beneficial nematodes available from Gardens Alive and Planet Natural, will also help for long-term control.
PS. Sevin is horrible stuff. Horrible for you, your garden and the environment.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 1, 2007
3:37 PM

Post #3682112

daphnecat,

I often see Sevin mentioned, but I don't like to use chemicals if I can help it. I am glad to hear that I've been doing the right thing by not using it. Somewhere on DG there is a thread on making home-made insecticides using natural ingredients. I copied all the suggestions to a word doc. I've found the suggestions very useful and that they worked. The only store-bought remedy I've used is Neem Oil for spider mites. I can't say it worked really well, but it helped. I'm still spraying for the mites.

But squashing the squash bugs does work. It's just tedious to do.

Karen
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

July 2, 2007
11:01 PM

Post #3687578

I used to get a pesticide from Mellinger's (now gone, alas!) that was a mixture of Rotenone and Pyrethrum. It worked for anything I needed to die. It's the ONLY thing I've ever used that would kill flea beatles.

Sojourner
kls_01
Champaign, IL
(Zone 5b)

July 3, 2007
2:24 AM

Post #3688522

Do you rotate your crops? I know I've read that rotating the crops to different areas will keep the bugs guessing...they dine all summer on your veggies then lay eggs right there to come visit you next year. Not sure if this is true of squash bugs...hope you get rid of them, they look and sound nasty. Good to know what they look like now! I'll be on the lookout. I know I've seen those eggs on some leaves earlier in the year, but so far so good...good luck!


Kristie
ZenSojourner
Fairborn, OH
(Zone 8a)

July 4, 2007
9:39 PM

Post #3695748

The Pyrethrum/Rotenone mixture is available from GardensAlive! at:

http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=8659

I don't know why I didn't think of them before, I buy other stuff from them. Now I know where to get some for myself, too. So far the flea beatles haven't found my eggplants, but if they stay away, it'll be the first time in 25 years I haven't had to fight them off.

Sojourner
durtdobber

July 5, 2007
10:00 PM

Post #3699808

they have killed my first set of squash and zuccine now they are on my second planting but what i have found out is they do not like water so what i have been doing now is wet the plants and puddle up water on around the plants and the bugs will come ot on the leaves an get in the sun to dry off then i squash them and i see them on the ground too when i do this so you need to look aroud the plant they do not like being wet but you need to do it when the sun his shining good because they get in direct sun when wet
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 5, 2007
10:31 PM

Post #3700367

Yep, durtdobber, that's exacly how to get them out where you can see them. Then it's easy to get them - squish!!

Karen

easter_lily
Greentown, IN
(Zone 5a)

July 8, 2007
3:56 AM

Post #3709593

Aaaaagggggghhhhhhh! The good news is...I just happened to read this post. The bad news is...I found these little critters mating on my yellow squash tonight! I didn't know what they were until now. I guess I have some work ahead of me tomorrow. And I was hoping for a break from the garden for just one day...

Thanks for the info everyone. You just saved my summer harvest!
countrylivin

(Zone 7b)

July 10, 2007
3:13 PM

Post #3718744

Well I also have had horrible luck with the dreaded squash bugs. This year I have done something different and so far I haven't seen a single one. Neem oil!!! I sprayed it on my squash, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplants and beans. It's been working great for me. Before I sprinkled with sevin and dreaded it because I didn't like using the chemicals and was afraid of killing any good bugs (bees). Apparently, Neem oil leaves a really bad taste and the bugs hate it. Now can anyone help me with Vine borers? Have lost one plant so far. As I write this I'm thinking to myself, "Spray the darn base of the plant with Neem!" Sometimes the answer is so obvious.
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 10, 2007
9:07 PM

Post #3720279

easter_lily -- when I found out what they were, I started out trying to squish them between two leaves. They jump so quickly, I had trouble catching them. I got over that. Now, I just grab 'em and squish 'em! LOL

countrylivin - In the Vegetable Forum there are several threads about vine borers. You can search that form for them. Here is one recommended treatment: http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=8659&bhcd2=1184101274

Good Luck,

Karen



durtdobber

July 10, 2007
11:17 PM

Post #3720729

try the water trick last week i was killing 25 to over 30 a day this week it been 8 yo 10 a day now and look for the eggs and take a lighter and burn them till they pop .most of the ones i have found have been small i think i have knocked a dent in the older ones . but if you do the water thing dont look for them right after you wet the plants wait 5min. and keep looking forat least 15min. it take a litte bit for them to come out to dry off. any leaves on the ground is a hiding place so look there too .they will go there to get out of the water also . i hope i have slowed them down but only time will tell.good luck you will need it.
Motrish
Saint James, MO

July 22, 2007
2:29 PM

Post #3765045

My daughter just lost her one zucchini plant to the squash bug. I don't like the idea of using Sevin but from what I've read, it takes a really strong chemical to kill the adult. Someone had a good idea (Jeff, I think) about putting a board in the garden. The bug likes to hide there. That would get a good many together and then you could zap them with the spray. At least you wouldn't be putting spray everywhere. I definitely don't want to spray the vegetables themselves.

I'm thinking of leaving the wilted zucchini plant (along with a board) in the garden to attract the bugs so they'll leave the tomatoes, melons, cucumbers alone. Then spraying just in the localized area. Has anyone tried this?
lisaoliver
Foristell, MO
(Zone 5b)

July 25, 2007
1:22 PM

Post #3777140

I have read all the advice here, plus several organic gardening books and applied a few educated guesses and I believe I have defeated the squash bugs, this season anyway. So here is what has worked best for me: I have found they attack when the squash are at their worst- temp. above 90 and dry so keeping them WELL watered helps, plus the bugs don't like water so I take my hose and flood the base of the plant and grab and squish the bugs. I find them easiest to catch early in the morning, they are sluggish( like me) and they mate late in the after noon (about 4:00), Then you get to squish 2 at a time. They seem to mate near the base of the plant. Check the under side of the leaves or shady parts of the stem and destroy the eggs by squishing or tear that part of the leaf away and burn or put in a sealed bag and throw away. Vacuuming a severe infestation of the nymphs is quicker and more effective than trying to catch them. Sevin spray does destroy them but it also kills honeybees so do not use it after flowering. Toads eat the adults and nymphs, I found one doing so one morning so I put my family on the alert to relocate all toads to the squash bed. I also discovered a few spider webs among the plants- no idea about the kind of spider but now with the toads, spiders, and healthy plants I have found no bugs In the past few weeks. We also put a blue bird house nearby and we have other birds that eat in the garden. So creating an eco system seems to be the best defence. To encourage birds to feast in your garden put up some make shift perches like a 2 x 4 with a cross beem about 6 or seven feet talll or a fence is good so the birds have a perch to sit and search for bugs. A bird house will invite a couple, but many birds are territorial so you will only have those birds around. The perches keep the garden "public". I know this all seems time consuming, but I work full time and have three kids and I really only spend a few hours a week gardening, so these suggestions will take longer to read than the actual process-- love you all, happy gardening!

This message was edited Jul 26, 2007 8:12 AM
glendalekid
Tuscaloosa, AL
(Zone 7b)

July 25, 2007
3:00 PM

Post #3777518

lisa,

Congrats on getting the better of your squash bugs! I, too, noticed that they don't like water, so when you water around the base of the plant the bugs come out of there and get on the leaves. Makes them a lot easier to catch. Thanks for the suggestion and explanation of the bird perches. I am going to adopt that one.

Karen
Motrish
Saint James, MO

July 27, 2007
2:58 PM

Post #3785498

Thanks, Lisa-you have some good suggestions. I really don't want to use Sevin dust so these are some good alternatives. One thing about encouraging birds, though, is that they also like to taste the berries. So I will have to protect those with netting probably. Toads are a great idea too! I guess they'll stay if there is a water source in the garden. Vacuuming sounds interesting-I guess you have to empty the bag right away? I wouldn't want my neighbors seeing me vacuuming my garden though-they'd really think I was loony. But so what? They already think that :) --Trish
tucsonjill
Lincoln, NE
(Zone 5a)

July 27, 2007
6:15 PM

Post #3786174

Hmm... does Merry Maids vacuum squash? :)
scottpharr
Richmond, VA

July 28, 2007
1:25 PM

Post #3788729

These are great suggestions! I just joined this forum JUST so I could tell you that. I started my first garden this year, it's a square foot garden and I have learned soooo much in just a 4 month period of time. I saw those eggs sometime ago and had no idea what they were -- yesterday I saw big ones, little ones, mid-size ones and realized "oh buddy, you are screwed!" :)

So needless to say I'll be looking for toads, frogs, watering, picking, vacuuming, and setting up my ecosystem today!
lisaoliver
Foristell, MO
(Zone 5b)

August 14, 2007
12:58 AM

Post #3854145

They sneak up on you don't they? It is over 100 here and my garden is suffering and seems like the BAD bugs like to get the plants when they are down. Yesterday I found squash bugs on my cucumbers too. Don't give up, next year you'll know about them and you'll be able to keep them at bay. Happy squishing, Lisa

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