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Old August 1, 2016   #1
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Carolina
Posts: 25
Default Squash Bugs and Squash Vine Borers - What I Learned This Year

Each year I learn a little more with having a garden. This is my 3rd year.

The first year I knew nothing about the squash bugs and the SVB'ers.

Last year I thought the squash bug eggs I was seeing were the SVB eggs and that the squash bugs I was seeing were stink bugs. I did know about the SVB worm that would eat from the inside out and was able to pull out quite a few with my trusty crochet hook (one of the tiniest ones made)

So this year, I learned a lot. I learned that it's not good to plant your squash near where you put mulch. And the landscape timbers that are holding the mulch in place, well, the squash bugs love hiding in the mulch and under the timbers.

I have a carport and then a hill. This past year I put double ground mulch near at the top of the hill and the landscape timbers. Right below that I planted my winter squash crop (previous years I've had melons in this area).

I started seeing eggs in May. I quickly started removing them with lint tape. It's been a day in and day out process and struggle. After a while, when you have so many squash plants, and they start running, it's a bit hard to try to find where the SB's are laying there eggs if they aren't doing it on the top. But I'm vigilant, though I don't get them all. I've found eggs on blades of grass and even underneath the timers. I turn over the timbers and collect the little buggers in an old water bottle, or something of the like.

I've learned, if you see a mass of eggs, there is most likely another mass somewhere really close by. I've gotten good at finding the nymphs that have survived my lint tape removal and getting those off in mass, or just plain squishing them when I see them. I've gotten a lot less squeamish with catching bugs by hand and killing the nymphs this year!

It also seems that when you water on a hot day, they come out in droves. One day I did that and I must of easily caught 50 of them in one shot.

The SVB, there's not much I can do, they are too fast and too many. They are still out there laying their eggs. This is late for them compared to last year. I have pulled out a good 50 worms from my plants. About 6 a succumbed to their death from the borer, unfortunately.

I've tried to stay away from pesticides. The only thing I've used on occasion is insecticidal soap.

I can't even imagine what it would be like for next year if I didn't do what I've been doing with removing the eggs, and the SB when I see them. I've removed thousands of eggs, and hundreds of SB's. I have the winter squash crop on the hill but I have 4 raised beds of squash that are down in my actual garden. Those too have to be watched, but they've taken second fiddle to the ones on the hill.

Just thought I'd share my experience. Not a fun one. If I didn't love winter squash so much, I'd of given up. I usually plant squashes that are unusual. Next year I will be even more selective of what I grow. No more zuchinni and I will not try delicata again - 3rd year and no luck. Only summer squash I will probably grow is patty pan. I will grow some winter squash as summer - they seem to do very well doing that.
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