Here’s a bug that loves squash plants. It is known as the squash vine bug. It amazes me how they find squash plants, no matter where they are planted. My squash this year are now half an acre from the place where I planted them last year. This is the third year that I have had squash in this particular bed. The squash bug was absent last year as well as the previous year. However, this year I discovered many adult bugs on the squash vines.

They start laying eggs in June that are unique and oval-shaped. They lay eggs in groups on the squash leaf’s underside. If the eggs hatch and the Nymphs survive, they will become adults, mate and then hatch another generation before the cold weather sets in. The nymphs who make it to adulthood will stay in the garden, accumulating the debris until next season. It is a smart idea to clear out your garden beds so they have nowhere to hide.

Squash bugs are the most destructive pest to winter squash and pumpkins. Squash bugs attack both adults and nymphs by sucking sap from their vines, causing enough damage that it can kill the plant. Untrained gardeners will not know that the squash plant can look fine one day and then become wilted and clearly dying the next. It is difficult to bring it back once it reaches the wilt stage.

Squash bugs can be controlled with persistence and diligence. Regular inspections are necessary for your squash plants. They will eventually be there, and I am just trying to find out when they are settled in. Squash bugs can be destroyed by cold winters. Mulches can help them survive. Mulched squash plants are more resistant to squash bugs than squash plants that have been planted on bare ground.

The young gardener can do a great job as a squash bug patrol. My younger children often help me locate and squash bugs between two rocks. The younger children can also help locate the eggs. Those eggs can be difficult to remove because the shells are too hard for sprays to work. A small, stiff artist paint brush and an ice-cream bucket are what I found to be most effective. Once I found a group of eggs, my bucket was placed under the leaf. Then, I brushed the eggs into the bucket. Because those eggs can hatch anywhere, I have to be careful what I do with the bucket. I usually just cover it with a lid and leave it out in the sun until egg laying season ends. Then I throw it away. Recently, I read a blog post in which a gardener vacuumed them with a dry/wet vac. This was both very clever and quite funny. You should be careful not to get the plants to drink too.


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