New Squash Bug Tips

We’ve talked about squash bugs in the past. We talked about finding them at the base of any squash family plants including zucchini, acorn delicata, butternut, cucumbers, pumpkins and spaghetti squash. Even luffa is considered a squash. Crushing them or dropping them into a cup of soapy water is the best method to get rid of them. They are a hard shelled insect so most insecticides don’t work. And we wouldn’t use any chemicals on our plants anyway.

This year I made it my mission to eliminate the squash bugs before they took over the garden. Since I have been working from home due to Covid, I was excited to spend lunch time working on garden pests. Interestingly enough I rarely saw the squash bugs. Instead I was stripping eggs off leaves and crushing them. It was helpful but with the number of plants I have it was taking a long time! Inevitably I’d find eggs on most plants the next day.

One day I was too busy with work to get into the garden at lunch so I decided to put my headlamp on and go hunting in the late evening. I was astounded to find a ton of squash bugs the darker it got. Apparently they spent their days napping under the weed block and then came out at night to breed. This was my aha moment! That same night I came back around to first plant I checked when there was still sunshine. Sure enough, while I had not seen the squash bugs the first time around, they were now out and having a little fun! A lesson that reminded me of “Which came first, the Squash Bug or the Eggs!”

From then on I caught those bugs BEFORE they started laying eggs and eliminated the source. Early mornings and sundown were the magic times. Taking my time looking for not only the bugs, but also looking for eggs on the bottoms of all the leaves. We had a very successful year and hope to get started even earlier next year!

Another Garden Pest – Squash Bugs

Just as the garden seemed to recover and started to flourish again I found some insect eggs on the back of pumpkin leaf. This one is easy to identify. Squash bugs started to take over the pumpkins and summer squash. Luckily the butternut and acorn squash had hard enough skin to resist the attack. When the bugs hatch they quickly latch on to the plant or fruit and suck the life out of it. They leave scabs on the fruit.

This leaf has a combination of the shiny copper colored eggs and black and silver, tiny baby bugs. They slowly grow, forming a harder brown shell. The biggest annoyance is these particular bugs are very intelligent. They hide when they see you coming and will run around the base of the plant where it’s hard to get at them. If you reach to the right, they round around to the left. If you reach to the left they run back the right again. It’s like chasing something around a tree and never catching it. That’s why there are no pictures of adult bugs, sorry.

How do you get rid of these little beasts when you aren’t using chemicals? Crushing every egg and bug with your fingers that you can find. Checking daily is the only way to stay ahead of it. Luckily the plants are very productive so the loss was minimal.