What are these bugs eating my zucchini plants and how do I get rid of them.

JustinCase

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digitS'

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I will guess that they are some type of stink bug.


My approach would be to spray the plants with Spinosad. There are probably some that you would have trouble reaching with this spray and the bugs need to eat it to be killed. Taking some effort to get under leaves would help. If there seems to be a population that avoided the spray, pyrethrum is also an organic spray and need not be eaten. It interferes with respiration but there is also a chance that the bugs may recover.

Spinosad is what is in the flea tablets given to dogs and cats.

Steve
 

Zeedman

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The bugs in the photos appear to be either aphids (my first guess) or nymphs of stink bug or similar. Both of those are sap-sucking insects, and could not have caused the severe leaf & flower damage. The leaf tears & missing petals are probably caused by either an animal (the most likely cause for the flower damage), or by chewing insects near the growing heart of the plant. I've seen earwigs cause similar leaf damage, by chewing on the new leaves as they emerge.

Good luck... and welcome to TEG! :frow
 
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digitS'

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If they are aphids, the spinosad isn't the best choice, and the size of the insects in the photos are much enlarged.

That insecticide is an effective choice for earwigs. Earwigs have shredded some of my dahlias this year to the extent that I doubt that they will develop roots strong enough to survive winter storage. Often, plants are weakened by several factors and intense heat this season contributed to the problem.

Aphids can be killed with neem oil or insecticidal soap. Both can be hard on plants and should be washed off before strong sunlight causes additional damage.

Choices. We are sometimes left with the choice of growing plants with personal standards or having others grow them for us.

Steve
 

seedcorn

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Agree, they look like green southern stink bugs. They are a carnivore and sucking juice from plants insect. Something else ate your leaves.
 

Ridgerunner

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Hi, welcome to the forum from Louisiana. Glad you joined.

My first glance was also aphids but those are too big and not quite the right shape. But definitely a member of the stink bug family. As mentioned, those are not what is chewing your leaves. They don't feed by chewing, they feed by sucking. Basically they stick a straw in and suck out plant juices. That makes them hard to control. You can't use a pesticide that they have to eat because they won't eat it. You have to use a contact pesticide and you have to contact them with it. That's not always easy with all members of that family.

The main kind of damage they cause will be marks on your zucchini fruit. When they pierce the skin they inject a chemical that keeps the juices flowing. That causes scarring on the fruit. That's the same thing that causes cat-facing on tomatoes. If you get enough of them they can stunt or damage the plant or their punctures can allow certain disease inside or they may even transmit a disease. These usually don't happen, scarring of the fruit is your biggest risk. I just cut that section out and use the rest.

As to what is chewing your leaves, can you give us a better photo of that. Best I can tell it's something chewing from the outside edge of the leaf, not something putting holes in them. It can help if you tell us where you are in the world so we are more likely to know what pests it could be. You need to know what's causing the damage before you can figure out how to control it. Are you seeing any insect droppings? They may be green when really fresh but they soon turn black. Where they are, shape, and size may be a clue as to what is eating the leaves.
 
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