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Old 07-30-2019, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Somewhere, out there in Zone7B
4,990 posts, read 6,673,263 times
Reputation: 4580

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Taking a break from gardening and thought I'd post this years experience with the dreaded bugs who just LOVE squash, the plant and the fruit!

Every year for the last 7 years I've put in a garden. Started off small and has grown over the years. One of my favorite things to grow besides heirloom tomatoes are squash, mostly winter squash. One of the least favorite things about growing squash is the bugs!!!! Every year they seem to get worse, yet, every year I seem to learn something new through doing all this.

So I thought I would share some of what I've learned this year...

First, I am in Zone 7B in western SC, GVL to be exact. In years past I've gotten my seeds out early thinking I could get a crop early in the season. The probem where I live is we are some of the lucky people who have 2 cycles of squash bugs while most have only 1. So I have to deal with these bugs, and their friends, twice during a growing season. Also, I plant mostly moschata type of squashes, along with some edible gourds, both are suppose to be resistant to squash bugs...resistant...it just means they choose these last over the other squash in my book.

Two years ago the squash bugs were the worst yet. I don't use pesticides so I was picking squash bugs off by hand, and their eggs with tape. I'd found the silver metallic tape they use for ac ducts, or a lint brush sheet works the best, but it was a task that consumed me like no other. Between doing that, and keeping up with the vine borers, I was a slave to the squash.

Last year was better so it seemed all that hard work had a positive effect, but I still had squash bugs, just less of them. I kept up the fight. Last year I also tried something new with trying to deal with the vine borers by using pins in the base of the plants. It helped but I had to do better next time.

So here's this year...Vine borers...not a single one this year. My squash plants do look like voodoo squash as they have head pins in ALL of them. Head pins are the ones with a small glass ball at the end. I put numerous ones in each squash plant, towards the base. One when they were small and as they grew I put in a few more. I figured that the vine borers usually lay their eggs at the base of the plants so if this should happen the pins would impale them as they grew/moved and there would be either death, or no where to grow. Not a single vine borer this year. I will absolutely do this again, every year.

The squash bugs have been manageable, definitely a LOT less than last year. I thought maybe by planting late that I wouldn't have them, or only have 1 cycle of them. Usually, I plant in late March/early April. This time I waited until almost June 1st. They must have heard dinner was going to be a little later this year, but they arrived. Just one of the days did I find about 30 of them. I went nuts! They weren't even on the squash plants, but all around my watermelons. I went to water and they came out and so did my hatred for them as I picked them off one-by-one, or even two-by-two if they were doing the nasty, which is what I was doing by picking them off by hand! I've learned, you have to be quick because they are and they'll be gone before you blink. Either I squash the squash bug with my shoe or I drop them in a jar with water (old mayo jar with lid has worked well this year). Then we have those bugs who I didn't get a layed eggs on my plants. This year I have found that a knife I have in the garden is working even better than the tape I've used in the past. Wet, the eggs stick to the knife and I just slowly scrape them off with the sharp edge of the knife, they stick to the knife and then I stick the knife in the water to get them off. So far, I found 1 patch that hatched and luckily, I think I got the majority of them with the tape. I know I missed a few as I've found about 4-5 stragglers, but so far, that's been about it. I check as best I can, the underside of the leaves, though sometimes they are right on the top of the leaf. Also, shining a light, even your cell phone light, under the leaves will show any as a shadow. I'm going to invest in a wand type of light next year to help find them.

A tell-tale sign you may have squash bugs are yellowing spots on the leaves and/or wilted leaves that stay wilted and/or crispy dying leaves, especially at the edges. If your plants wilt during the day but bounce back in the evening it does not mean you have squash bugs. If you're entire squash plant wilts and doesn't bounce back after the afternoon heat, check for vine borers. If you find you have them either cut them out if you can, or do what I've done in the past...tiny crochet hook in the hole and pull them out...it works! Or just impale them if you can find them in the fine with good ole pin heads!

So, this year, I took more notice in blossoms on the ground. It was like something just chewed it off as all that was left was the "branch" where the blossom was attached. I figured maybe an animal had eaten it off. Nope...I learned quite a bit about...the pickle worm! I've had pickle worms in the past, but only knew they were IN my squash, or IN my cukes but never did I make a connection they were IN my blossoms and THAT is what was causing the blossoms to fall off. So I get rid of one insect, the vine borer, and I get another to deal with in more ways than one.

So I started to look closer at my squash blossoms, the ones that had dropped off, or looked dead. I noticed some of these blossoms had a hole, most near the base of the blossom. Sometimes it looked like a hole with a thin white layer, but a definite circle. I found pickle worms inside - there's usually one, but when really small, sometimes 2 in 1 blossom. If you notice a hole, or frass, or a dead looking blossom, 8-10 times I'm going to say there's a pickle worm in there. Some are so tiny you can barely see them, but getting them while they are young helps keep them from decimating one blossom and then going to another and doing the same, all why they wait for your squash to mature so they can eventually attack those.

When really tiny, they are white, then a little bigger they seem to have small brownish markings, and as they grow, they become green. If you see evidence that there's brown mush in the blossom, they are there, or have been, and moved on.

So today after I watered my garden I was checking the blossoms and finding a lot of dead blossoms, some small stunted squash they were in and some blossoms I had to remove because I saw a hole. I drop them in the jar. Then I realized, they come out when there's water. I did this with some squash last year, and some cukes too that had pickle worms in them, but in an area where I could cut the part off they were in and still utilize some of the fruit. I had put the squash/cuke in water, and they come out of the holes because they can't breath, and they die. Light bulb came on! I took my hose and went to the large blossoms that looked okay, many with bees doing their pollinating and I put some water in the open blossom. The bees didn't even move, but here comes a green pickle worm looking for air! Got him out and figured I was on to something. I did this with all the blossoms I could and I found many had a pickle worm in various stages. I was very surprised because these blossoms looked big and healthy and have fruit growing at the base.

So, this is how my summer squash growing is going this year. Hoping with all the blossoms I've had to remove, I will still get some good squash out of all this. Gosh knows, I have enough plants, now I just want the squash for the all the effort I've put in to growing them!!!
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Old 08-06-2019, 08:09 PM
 
1,249 posts, read 1,497,135 times
Reputation: 909
Thanks for the great tips! Growing good plants is absolutely a huge challenge at times. I hope your summer squash comes in great this year. I planted tomatoes two years ago, but gave up, as this red clay we are in was really difficult to manage.
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Old 08-07-2019, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Bella Vista, Ark
74,886 posts, read 87,306,410 times
Reputation: 45460
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldemila View Post
Taking a break from gardening and thought I'd post this years experience with the dreaded bugs who just LOVE squash, the plant and the fruit!

Every year for the last 7 years I've put in a garden. Started off small and has grown over the years. One of my favorite things to grow besides heirloom tomatoes are squash, mostly winter squash. One of the least favorite things about growing squash is the bugs!!!! Every year they seem to get worse, yet, every year I seem to learn something new through doing all this.

So I thought I would share some of what I've learned this year...

First, I am in Zone 7B in western SC, GVL to be exact. In years past I've gotten my seeds out early thinking I could get a crop early in the season. The probem where I live is we are some of the lucky people who have 2 cycles of squash bugs while most have only 1. So I have to deal with these bugs, and their friends, twice during a growing season. Also, I plant mostly moschata type of squashes, along with some edible gourds, both are suppose to be resistant to squash bugs...resistant...it just means they choose these last over the other squash in my book.

Two years ago the squash bugs were the worst yet. I don't use pesticides so I was picking squash bugs off by hand, and their eggs with tape. I'd found the silver metallic tape they use for ac ducts, or a lint brush sheet works the best, but it was a task that consumed me like no other. Between doing that, and keeping up with the vine borers, I was a slave to the squash.

Last year was better so it seemed all that hard work had a positive effect, but I still had squash bugs, just less of them. I kept up the fight. Last year I also tried something new with trying to deal with the vine borers by using pins in the base of the plants. It helped but I had to do better next time.

So here's this year...Vine borers...not a single one this year. My squash plants do look like voodoo squash as they have head pins in ALL of them. Head pins are the ones with a small glass ball at the end. I put numerous ones in each squash plant, towards the base. One when they were small and as they grew I put in a few more. I figured that the vine borers usually lay their eggs at the base of the plants so if this should happen the pins would impale them as they grew/moved and there would be either death, or no where to grow. Not a single vine borer this year. I will absolutely do this again, every year.

The squash bugs have been manageable, definitely a LOT less than last year. I thought maybe by planting late that I wouldn't have them, or only have 1 cycle of them. Usually, I plant in late March/early April. This time I waited until almost June 1st. They must have heard dinner was going to be a little later this year, but they arrived. Just one of the days did I find about 30 of them. I went nuts! They weren't even on the squash plants, but all around my watermelons. I went to water and they came out and so did my hatred for them as I picked them off one-by-one, or even two-by-two if they were doing the nasty, which is what I was doing by picking them off by hand! I've learned, you have to be quick because they are and they'll be gone before you blink. Either I squash the squash bug with my shoe or I drop them in a jar with water (old mayo jar with lid has worked well this year). Then we have those bugs who I didn't get a layed eggs on my plants. This year I have found that a knife I have in the garden is working even better than the tape I've used in the past. Wet, the eggs stick to the knife and I just slowly scrape them off with the sharp edge of the knife, they stick to the knife and then I stick the knife in the water to get them off. So far, I found 1 patch that hatched and luckily, I think I got the majority of them with the tape. I know I missed a few as I've found about 4-5 stragglers, but so far, that's been about it. I check as best I can, the underside of the leaves, though sometimes they are right on the top of the leaf. Also, shining a light, even your cell phone light, under the leaves will show any as a shadow. I'm going to invest in a wand type of light next year to help find them.

A tell-tale sign you may have squash bugs are yellowing spots on the leaves and/or wilted leaves that stay wilted and/or crispy dying leaves, especially at the edges. If your plants wilt during the day but bounce back in the evening it does not mean you have squash bugs. If you're entire squash plant wilts and doesn't bounce back after the afternoon heat, check for vine borers. If you find you have them either cut them out if you can, or do what I've done in the past...tiny crochet hook in the hole and pull them out...it works! Or just impale them if you can find them in the fine with good ole pin heads!

So, this year, I took more notice in blossoms on the ground. It was like something just chewed it off as all that was left was the "branch" where the blossom was attached. I figured maybe an animal had eaten it off. Nope...I learned quite a bit about...the pickle worm! I've had pickle worms in the past, but only knew they were IN my squash, or IN my cukes but never did I make a connection they were IN my blossoms and THAT is what was causing the blossoms to fall off. So I get rid of one insect, the vine borer, and I get another to deal with in more ways than one.

So I started to look closer at my squash blossoms, the ones that had dropped off, or looked dead. I noticed some of these blossoms had a hole, most near the base of the blossom. Sometimes it looked like a hole with a thin white layer, but a definite circle. I found pickle worms inside - there's usually one, but when really small, sometimes 2 in 1 blossom. If you notice a hole, or frass, or a dead looking blossom, 8-10 times I'm going to say there's a pickle worm in there. Some are so tiny you can barely see them, but getting them while they are young helps keep them from decimating one blossom and then going to another and doing the same, all why they wait for your squash to mature so they can eventually attack those.

When really tiny, they are white, then a little bigger they seem to have small brownish markings, and as they grow, they become green. If you see evidence that there's brown mush in the blossom, they are there, or have been, and moved on.

So today after I watered my garden I was checking the blossoms and finding a lot of dead blossoms, some small stunted squash they were in and some blossoms I had to remove because I saw a hole. I drop them in the jar. Then I realized, they come out when there's water. I did this with some squash last year, and some cukes too that had pickle worms in them, but in an area where I could cut the part off they were in and still utilize some of the fruit. I had put the squash/cuke in water, and they come out of the holes because they can't breath, and they die. Light bulb came on! I took my hose and went to the large blossoms that looked okay, many with bees doing their pollinating and I put some water in the open blossom. The bees didn't even move, but here comes a green pickle worm looking for air! Got him out and figured I was on to something. I did this with all the blossoms I could and I found many had a pickle worm in various stages. I was very surprised because these blossoms looked big and healthy and have fruit growing at the base.

So, this is how my summer squash growing is going this year. Hoping with all the blossoms I've had to remove, I will still get some good squash out of all this. Gosh knows, I have enough plants, now I just want the squash for the all the effort I've put in to growing them!!!
Squash bugs are the reason, after years of growing squash I just gave up. When we lived in VA never had a problem but that was 30 years ago. We moved to NM and didn't have a problem until, each year about mid August. By that time we had had enough squash to start a produce store, so when those little guys started ending the life of our squash I was ok with that. Now, we are in NWA and the problem is awful. Each year it got worse, so I just gave up a few years ago.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,258 posts, read 8,459,081 times
Reputation: 3691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eldemila View Post
Taking a break from gardening and thought I'd post this years experience with the dreaded bugs who just LOVE squash, the plant and the fruit!

Every year for the last 7 years I've put in a garden. Started off small and has grown over the years. One of my favorite things to grow besides heirloom tomatoes are squash, mostly winter squash. One of the least favorite things about growing squash is the bugs!!!! Every year they seem to get worse, yet, every year I seem to learn something new through doing all this.

So I thought I would share some of what I've learned this year...

First, I am in Zone 7B in western SC, GVL to be exact. In years past I've gotten my seeds out early thinking I could get a crop early in the season. The probem where I live is we are some of the lucky people who have 2 cycles of squash bugs while most have only 1. So I have to deal with these bugs, and their friends, twice during a growing season. Also, I plant mostly moschata type of squashes, along with some edible gourds, both are suppose to be resistant to squash bugs...resistant...it just means they choose these last over the other squash in my book.

Two years ago the squash bugs were the worst yet. I don't use pesticides so I was picking squash bugs off by hand, and their eggs with tape. I'd found the silver metallic tape they use for ac ducts, or a lint brush sheet works the best, but it was a task that consumed me like no other. Between doing that, and keeping up with the vine borers, I was a slave to the squash.

Last year was better so it seemed all that hard work had a positive effect, but I still had squash bugs, just less of them. I kept up the fight. Last year I also tried something new with trying to deal with the vine borers by using pins in the base of the plants. It helped but I had to do better next time.

So here's this year...Vine borers...not a single one this year. My squash plants do look like voodoo squash as they have head pins in ALL of them. Head pins are the ones with a small glass ball at the end. I put numerous ones in each squash plant, towards the base. One when they were small and as they grew I put in a few more. I figured that the vine borers usually lay their eggs at the base of the plants so if this should happen the pins would impale them as they grew/moved and there would be either death, or no where to grow. Not a single vine borer this year. I will absolutely do this again, every year.

The squash bugs have been manageable, definitely a LOT less than last year. I thought maybe by planting late that I wouldn't have them, or only have 1 cycle of them. Usually, I plant in late March/early April. This time I waited until almost June 1st. They must have heard dinner was going to be a little later this year, but they arrived. Just one of the days did I find about 30 of them. I went nuts! They weren't even on the squash plants, but all around my watermelons. I went to water and they came out and so did my hatred for them as I picked them off one-by-one, or even two-by-two if they were doing the nasty, which is what I was doing by picking them off by hand! I've learned, you have to be quick because they are and they'll be gone before you blink. Either I squash the squash bug with my shoe or I drop them in a jar with water (old mayo jar with lid has worked well this year). Then we have those bugs who I didn't get a layed eggs on my plants. This year I have found that a knife I have in the garden is working even better than the tape I've used in the past. Wet, the eggs stick to the knife and I just slowly scrape them off with the sharp edge of the knife, they stick to the knife and then I stick the knife in the water to get them off. So far, I found 1 patch that hatched and luckily, I think I got the majority of them with the tape. I know I missed a few as I've found about 4-5 stragglers, but so far, that's been about it. I check as best I can, the underside of the leaves, though sometimes they are right on the top of the leaf. Also, shining a light, even your cell phone light, under the leaves will show any as a shadow. I'm going to invest in a wand type of light next year to help find them.

A tell-tale sign you may have squash bugs are yellowing spots on the leaves and/or wilted leaves that stay wilted and/or crispy dying leaves, especially at the edges. If your plants wilt during the day but bounce back in the evening it does not mean you have squash bugs. If you're entire squash plant wilts and doesn't bounce back after the afternoon heat, check for vine borers. If you find you have them either cut them out if you can, or do what I've done in the past...tiny crochet hook in the hole and pull them out...it works! Or just impale them if you can find them in the fine with good ole pin heads!

So, this year, I took more notice in blossoms on the ground. It was like something just chewed it off as all that was left was the "branch" where the blossom was attached. I figured maybe an animal had eaten it off. Nope...I learned quite a bit about...the pickle worm! I've had pickle worms in the past, but only knew they were IN my squash, or IN my cukes but never did I make a connection they were IN my blossoms and THAT is what was causing the blossoms to fall off. So I get rid of one insect, the vine borer, and I get another to deal with in more ways than one.

So I started to look closer at my squash blossoms, the ones that had dropped off, or looked dead. I noticed some of these blossoms had a hole, most near the base of the blossom. Sometimes it looked like a hole with a thin white layer, but a definite circle. I found pickle worms inside - there's usually one, but when really small, sometimes 2 in 1 blossom. If you notice a hole, or frass, or a dead looking blossom, 8-10 times I'm going to say there's a pickle worm in there. Some are so tiny you can barely see them, but getting them while they are young helps keep them from decimating one blossom and then going to another and doing the same, all why they wait for your squash to mature so they can eventually attack those.

When really tiny, they are white, then a little bigger they seem to have small brownish markings, and as they grow, they become green. If you see evidence that there's brown mush in the blossom, they are there, or have been, and moved on.

So today after I watered my garden I was checking the blossoms and finding a lot of dead blossoms, some small stunted squash they were in and some blossoms I had to remove because I saw a hole. I drop them in the jar. Then I realized, they come out when there's water. I did this with some squash last year, and some cukes too that had pickle worms in them, but in an area where I could cut the part off they were in and still utilize some of the fruit. I had put the squash/cuke in water, and they come out of the holes because they can't breath, and they die. Light bulb came on! I took my hose and went to the large blossoms that looked okay, many with bees doing their pollinating and I put some water in the open blossom. The bees didn't even move, but here comes a green pickle worm looking for air! Got him out and figured I was on to something. I did this with all the blossoms I could and I found many had a pickle worm in various stages. I was very surprised because these blossoms looked big and healthy and have fruit growing at the base.

So, this is how my summer squash growing is going this year. Hoping with all the blossoms I've had to remove, I will still get some good squash out of all this. Gosh knows, I have enough plants, now I just want the squash for the all the effort I've put in to growing them!!!
Great advice. Most years I fight the squash bugs in hand to hand combat all season........and win. This year I tried to plant varieties that squash bugs don't like (when I plant cheese pumpkins, the ants patrol them and they never end up with any pests.) but they wouldn't germinate. I planted some of my more vigorous Kabocha hybrids, but haven't had the energy to fight the bugs once the plants finally got going in July. I can see some evidence of them, but I also am getting small pumpkins, so that is what it is this year.

I should have listened to my wife.....she said it just wasn't a pumpkin year after my first two attempts to get them in the ground failed.
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Old 08-09-2019, 06:34 AM
 
Location: South Carolina
14,363 posts, read 19,750,396 times
Reputation: 25752
if you want to deter squash bugs plant zinnias by them . I learned this from my grandpa he grew the nicest squash and everyone else had squash bugs but not him . squash bugs hate zinnias so therefore they wont come near your squash . grandpa swore by it and so do I . I never get squash bugs ever .
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