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Solving the Squash Bug dilemma...for good!

Discussion in 'Diseases & Pests' started by ducks4you, Jun 16, 2019.

  1. Jun 16, 2019
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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    I am starting this thread prompted by @Ben E Lou's thread of his 2019 garden, and his battle with squash bugs. My main garden bed is infested with them, and I am NOT planting any squashes there this year.
    I NEED your solutions and I will report back regarding their efficacy. (Yes, I have a vocabulary!!)
    I won't grab one of my needle/syringes and stick the plants!!! TOO MUCH WORK!!! :th
    (When you have livestock you keep a supply of them, and non expired tetanus antitoxin on hand.)
    THIS year, to TRY to fend them off, I am laying down diatomaceous earth, but I am not sure if it will also kill the good bugs.
    I bought a 50 lb bag of food grade DE last Fall and put it in my spare grain trash can, (the oldest one, with some rust), to use this gardening season.
    https://draxe.com/diatomaceous-earth/
    https://www.verywellfit.com/food-grade-diatomaceous-earth-4172762
    https://homeguides.sfgate.com/apply-diatomaceous-earth-vegetable-gardens-45493.html
    "Tip

    Diatomaceous earth kills many different insects, including ants, aphids, centipedes, cutworms, crickets, Japanese beetles, millipedes, slugs, snails, sow bugs and squashbugs."

    I want to know what you have done and I WELCOME a discussion.
    Squash bugs have been my BANE for many years now. :hit
     
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  2. Jun 16, 2019
    flowerbug

    flowerbug Garden Addicted

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    at the rate we are going we may not plant squash this season either. i have a garden full of weeds to turn and it has been raining so much it is mud. that was where the squash were supposed to be planted. it may be too late by the time i get it turned. in the meantime i'm weeding strawberries and picking strawberries. that patch too is mud but not as much clay so it isn't a mess to weed it or walk through it.

    i rotate plant and plant squish that mostly can survive the bugs.

    we encourage birds to eat the bugs. no idea if they actually do or not. same with hornets/wasps/bees.

    i would rather hand pick bugs off plants than use a non-specific poison.

    i'm pretty lazy in picking bugs off squash or even paying any attention to them other than making sure they have enough water. probably because by the time the squash get going i'm too busy with other things and they survive ok so i don't bump it up the priority list.
     
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  3. Jun 16, 2019
    digitS'

    digitS' Garden Master

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    It may be best for my response if you identify the insect as either the vine borer or the squash bug, Anasa tristis. Ducks', your reference to needles for injection has me confused if it is the vine borer - with which I have no experience.

    https://extension.entm.purdue.edu/veg/insectID.php You can click the "see more" for other pictures of pests of each veggie.

    We have both the squash bug (Anasa tristis) to contend with and the cucumber beetle. I can go after them with spray - they are both a little too mobile for me to pick off.

    Steve
     
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  4. Jun 16, 2019
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    I'll discuss a bit. Some people confuse squash bugs with squash vine borers. Two totally different pests.

    Squash bugs are members of the same family as stink bugs. They do not chew plants, they stick a siphon in and suck juices. A poison, insecticide, whatever you want to call them that requires the bug to chew and swallow it will not work on them. That eliminates quite a few pesticides, organic or not. I'm not aware of any poisons that can be injected into the plant and mix with the plant juices but would have some concerns with eating the squash if such a thing exists. I'm not saying I would not but I'd have to be convinced it was safe. That might not be easy.

    There is a type of poisons that requires contact with the insects body to kill it, does not required it to be ingested. Those can work if you can get the bug to touch it. That's been my problem with those. The bugs are so fast,they run away when disturbed, and are really good at hiding. It's hard to hit a significant number of them, especially the way a squash plant can spread out and with all the leaves they often have on the ground providing good hiding places. I've never been successful with a contact poison,

    Squash bugs can kill a squash plant two different ways. One is that the numbers get so huge that they literally suck the life out of them. Squash bugs can also transmit a wilting disease. Either of these can hit pretty quickly. On a hot dry day the squash plants can wilt down even if they are otherwise healthy. You need to keep them watered.

    I think I have delayed the onset of great numbers by carefully checking for eggs and removing them. But that doesn't last that long. No matter how hard I try the numbers soon get ridiculous. I often wonder if they are laying their eggs on other plants or even weeds in the lawn for them to hatch and then invade.

    Some varieties of squash are supposed to be more resistant to squash bugs than others. I once planted lemon squash along with zucchini and yellow squash. The lemon squash lasted a week or so longer so that was a couple of meals. I grew Tromboncini squash and didn't have the normal problems with squash bugs. Occasionally I'd see an isolated bug on them but not enough to cause a problem.

    From different posts on this forum over the years I'm convinced squash bugs are more of a problem in certain sections of the country than others. In Arkansas they were ridiculous though some years they were much worse than others.. Down here I think the squash vine borer may be more of an issue.
     
  5. Jun 17, 2019
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Garden Master

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    Each year the number of squash bugs has increased....last year it was what I consider a true infestation. Millions of them. Like the rest of you folks, I finally just gave up trying to find them, pick off the eggs, spray with soapy water, etc.

    By planting early most of my squash type plants survived the scourge and produced well anyway...only the cukes succumbed to the onslaught of various bugs and beetles and died of wilt. The rest of the squash survived it just fine and produced VERY well.

    There for awhile I thought I had contributed to the large numbers of squash by using the wood chips and then the hay....sooooooo many places for the bugs to hide with the use of mulches like these. Then, not tilling the soil each year, they were able to hide out for the winter without getting exposed at all.

    But, after hearing that everyone else has the same problem, even with various gardening methods, I discounted the mulch and no till as the culprit.

    This year, I got Indian Runner ducks...reportedly they will eat squash bugs like candy, as well as Jap beetles, without destroying the garden like chickens would do. Will report on their effect on the squash beetles/bugs as I should have a fine crop of bugs this season.

    I was going to not plant squash of any kind this season due to the bugs, then decided I'd plant squash but elsewhere on the land, in hopes they wouldn't find them as well....so I planted some cukes and yellow squash among my annual flower beds. But....then I also planted plenty of sacrifice squash in the garden...figured they'd be so occupied with those they wouldn't start in on those in the flowers and one can't see if ducks will eat them if they aren't given the chance to do so. We'll see how that worked.

    As for vine borers...was able to keep them off the squash and pumpkins for the first time ever by wrapping the bottom of the stems in vet wrap until that season had passed. Worked like a charm but one has to remember to finally remove the vet wrap or it gets too moist under there and starts to cause some softening/darkening of the area under the wrap.

    This year I left some of the squash unwrapped as a sort of a control group, for two reasons. To do a comparison and also to see if the ducks would prevent the control group from the moth's attentions...not sure if they could if it all happens at night.
     
  6. Jun 17, 2019
    catjac1975

    catjac1975 Garden Master

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    When you mention a syringe I am thinking you are really talking about the squash vine borer. My solution for both squash pests have been to let my chickens forage the garden all winter and early spring. I used to mulch squash with leaves and that just provided a place for the SB's to live. Good cultivation seems to have helped. I also plant consecutively which seems to prove that the right timing for planting squash is key. I put out seedlings and seeds at the same time with another later seed planting. They do not seem to go after vining squash as much as yellow and zucchini. With vining squash you can cover the vine at a few locations and they will take root. This will leave some of the vine growing if the base is infected with the SB. You still have time, try trombocini squash and let them climb on a structure. One excellent way to prevent borers on squash is by using a row cover. The borer is laid by a moth. Keeping them covered should prevent this. But, that may be in the arena of too much work, which I totally understand.
     
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  7. Jun 17, 2019
    Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Garden Master

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    So you hand pollinate? To me that's the issue with row covers with crops that require pollinators. From what i read the moth that lays the egg for the borer flies during the day, not at night so you need to keep them covered during the day when most pollinators are out.

    This is the borer, not the bug, a different critter. In the south the borer has two generations a year. In the north there is only one generation. If you are far enough north and you time the planting right you may be able to avoid borer problems. Your extension office may be able to help you with that.

    One year I tried delayed planting to avoid the squash bug. It looked successful. I mentioned this at the local Mom 'n Pop garden center and the owner said, yeah, no one is having squash bug problems this year. I tried it again the next year and nope, it did not work.
     
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  8. Jun 17, 2019
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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    Yes, I am thinking of both the borer and the squash bug, and I have had both. Moving my squash saved most of them from the borer, but I thought I was RAISING squash bugs like cattle last year! They have become my nemesis, at least in the squash garden.
    If I find a vine borer I cut away and burn that part of the squash, just like I burn bag worm bags.
    Love the advice!! :love
    I have planted a LOT of pumpkins this year and I have more to plant next week bc I saved a lot of seeds from 2 years ago. I am planting zucchini late. You know the whole package could grow enough zucchini for a neighborhood.
    I will report back on my results, bc I am not just venting here. I am seriously out to kill some bugs.
     
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  9. Jun 17, 2019
    Beekissed

    Beekissed Garden Master

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    Me too. That's why I got the Ducks of Wrath this year. I could think of nothing more wonderful than turning squash bugs into table food through the crops of a few ducks. Delicious revenge. :cool:

    That's the main reason I'm not trellising any squash this year....I want every leaf to be in reach of the DOW.
     
  10. Jun 17, 2019
    ducks4you

    ducks4you Garden Master

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