Squash bugs are officially in full swing. We’ve seen then in a lot of plots, but we can still keep them under control! For future updates, enter your email in the box to the right of this post!
Why are they bad?
They multiply FAST and feed on the sap of squash plants (summer squash, pumpkins, etc). If left unchecked they will affect the quality of the squash as well as the yield. And it is not uncommon for them to completely kill a plant if they aren’t kept under control.
How do you find them?
You might look at your plant and it seems fine. That’s because they hide at the base and blend in with the dirt. But they are very easy to find: soak the base of the plant and they will crawl up the plant to the leaves. They are slow and very easy to catch. I squish them between 2 wood chips.
Do this every time you water! Last year I would find 5-10 bug each time I watered – I couldn’t seem to fully get rid of them (perhaps they migrated from other gardens, perhaps they were just clever little buggers). But if there are only a handful on your plants at a time, your plants will be perfectly healthy. Let it go unchecked for even 7-10 days and you’ll get squashing dozens.
Check the leaves!
Check the underside of each squash leaf for copper colored, oval eggs. Smush them with your hand. There aren’t that many leaves on a squash plant, so it’s fairly quick and easy to check.
You’ll also want to check each time you’re in the garden so those eggs don’t hatch!
Are there organic sprays?
Honestly, finding and squishing them is the easiest and most effective method. Since they are so slow they are easy to catch when they crawl up the leaves from a watering.
Check out this thread on gardenweb for more information.