It’s June…Watch for Squash Bugs

SquashbugsIf you’re growing melons, gourds, cucumber, summer squash, zucchini, pumpkins, winter squash, you will want to read this. Those vegetables are called cucurbits and this is the time of year they are vulnerable to squash bugs looking to lay their eggs.

Squash bugs are sap-sucking insects that lay clusters of copper-colored eggs on the underside of leaves. In garden plots like ours, hand-picking is very effective. Squish the eggs when you see them and put any adults in a jar of soapy water – which is kept under the bulletin board. Be vigilant. These insects will start to appear this month.

Early action is imperative.

This is very important to do as left alone the eggs will hatch and dozens of squash bugs will begin feeding….this usually leads to plant leaves wilting and the plant dying.

The other thing to know is squash bugs seek shelter around the base of plants, this area should be kept clear. No weeds. If the pathway around your plot has weeds, remove them.

If you find you have squash bugs, an application of a 1/4 cup of Diatomaceous earth around the stalk of the plant can help control this pest. This treatment is permitted in Certified Organic vegetable production.

If you have other questions, leave them in the comments section of this post and I will answer them.

Natalie, Master Gardener and Coach for the Moreau Community Garden

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