FoodProduction101

How to Control Squash Bug

Squash bugs are terrible pests of the cucurbit family of plants that include squash, zucchini, pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.

Squash Bug Adult

 

Life Cycle

The squash bug adult looks a lot like a stink bug, but it has a little more of an elongated body. Adult squash bugs overwinter under boards, rocks, mulch, or debris. As the weather warms the squash bugs mate, and lay eggs in masses on the underside of leaves. The eggs look like little orange footballs clustered together. Eggs hatch in a couple of weeks, and the nymphs emerge. The nymphs mature in about a month. The adults and nymphs damage the cucurbit plants by sucking plant juices from the leaves. This causes the leaves to wilt, blacken, and finally die off. The damage tends to be life threatening to the plant when the plant is small.   

Squash Bug Nymph

 

Control Measures

1. Rotate your crops!

 

2. Remove old vines as soon as the harvest is done.

 

3. Hand picking eggs can be effective if you do not have too many vines.

Squash Bug Eggs

 

4. Planting cucurbits later in the season can be effective.

 

5. Companions plantings of nasturtiums, marigolds, and radishes can help to repel the squash bug, and attract predator pests.

 

6. Having good soil always helps.

 

7. Squash likes shade, so planting corn with your squash to give it some shade helps to lessen the stress on your plants. Less stress typically means fewer pests.

*Thanks Mark for the great pictures!

 

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