Squash bugs are notorious for destroying your pumpkins and squashes. They suck the life out of your leaves.Then, they invade your house in the winter. I am not sure who is worse–the squash bug or the squash vine borer. (Learn some tricks on keeping the vine borer hopefully out of the garden.) I think the squash bug is worse since if you squish it, it smells horrible.
In my zone, they start laying eggs in June. In fact, in July I saw a squash bug lay eggs. So you need to stay vigilant the whole summer!.
Squash Bug Control:
Since I am trying to keep them out of the garden, I researched and found the following ideas. (See my comments after several of the recommendations.)
1. Put row covers on the plants until they blossom. (In my garden, they were laying eggs in July way after the squash blossom. You might need to hand pollinate and keep the covers on.)
2. Do leaf checks every day. Just think if you remove their eggs, you destroyed a dozen potential squash bugs. (Add that to your list of leaf checks–kale, cabbage, squash, etc.)
3. Keep an old board near the squash or pumpkin plant. They like to congregate under the boards at night. In the morning, turn over the board and pick them up and drop them into soapy water. (Squash bugs stink when you squish them.) Alternatively, read Mother Earth’s squash bug squishing technique.
4. Planting nasturtiums around the plants may thwart them. I have nasturtiums planted in my garden; however, my vines are suspended. I just swatted at one tonight which was all the way at the top of my vine. She laughed at me and said, “see you later, sucker.” Literally…
5. Some people swear by using an garlic and onion spray which the bugs reportedly dislike. ( Read HERE for some recipes using garlic and onion.)
6. Don’t use mulch under your squash and pumpkins since they love to hide in there. Honestly, this is really hard for me to do since it holds in the moisture. In addition, I just started growing my vines on trellises. If you let your squash and pumpkins roam then the leaves will shade the ground to keep it moist.
7. Colorado State University Extension suggests using diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants. This product feels like little razors to the bugs so it keeps them away from the plants.
This may deter the squash bugs since the bugs congregate around the base of the plants. (You can buy it HERE.)
8. Dispose of your vines each season. Don’t just leave them on the ground in your garden.
If you do find eggs on your squash vines or leaves, read tomorrow on how to use this handy method of taking off the eggs without ripping the leaves.
Join the conversation:
How do you keep Squash Bugs at bay in your garden?
Squash bug picture by Squeezy Boy
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- Prevent Squash Vine Borers from Killing Your Squash & Pumpkins
- Get Rid of Squash Bug Eggs with this Simple Hack
- Mother Earth News Squash Bug Squishing Technique
- Squash Vine Borer: Ditch the Pesticide. Cut out the Worms.
- How to Identify and Remove Squash Vine Borer Worm