When Squash Bugs Attack
Yesterday we finally got a reprieve from triple digit temperatures. It felt almost like spring at only 90 degrees F with a slight cool breeze. I was able to run outside after work without fear of death!
Since it was a bit cooler, Benzo and I headed out to the garden after my run to continue the fight against the weeds. We only worked about an hour but were able to make a fairly good dent in the weeds. There is still a lot of work to do.
I decided to go ahead and pull out my zucchini plants even though they weren’t completely dead yet. Both hills were completely invaded by squash bugs. Squash bugs get my zucchini plants every year. It’s only a matter of time. This is what a squash bug looks like:
Nasty thing isn’t it? It just looks mean. That is not my picture above. I found it on Google Images. I had my camera with me in the garden last night, but the sun was going down and the battery was running out so I couldn’t get a good picture of the adult squash bugs on my own plants. I did however get a picture of a big group of babies:
The babies are lighter in color and obviously much smaller. I usually see them in big groups.
So if you see these bugs on your squash plants, kill them! They are not helpful bugs. Also if you see the eggs you know you have them. The eggs are typically on the underside of the leaves. This is what the eggs look like:
Again that is not my picture, but mine look just like that. My zucchini plants are right next to some tomatoes and I actually found some squash bug eggs on my tomato leaves. >:(
If you can catch them early, you can keep them somewhat under control. I have had success spraying them with soap and water. I also spray the eggs and try to knock the eggs off the leaves. But you have to be diligent about it and get out there and spray them almost every day. And always after it rains. Spray the middle of the plant, close to the ground. That’s where the squash bugs are usually hanging out.
Alas this year I let the bugs go on too long (like the weeds) and so I could tell there was no hope for saving my zucchinis. I pulled them out of the ground and drug the plants over to the compost pile. Removing the zucchinis did free up a lot of space for the tomatoes, which are expanding like crazy.
Here is a shot of the tomatoes on the north end of the garden. Where the zucchinis are lying on the ground is where the plants used to be. This is a big improvement from before because you can actually see the ground instead of weeds!
The two big boy tomato plants had pulled their cages over because they were so heavy with fruit. Benzo was able to reinforce them last night with some stakes and wire in the ground. Basically like a tent stake that pulls the cage back upright. Now I just have to remember not to trip over the wire.
Here’s the shot from the other side. Tomatoes are turning red! But as you can see there’s a lot more weeding to do.
Tell me, have you had problems with squash bugs? How do you fight them off?