Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Squash and Zucchini Under Attack

Squash vine borers are active now. You rarely see the small red and black moth who lays her eggs on the stem of the squash near the soil line. The larvae hatch and bore into the stem and proceed the eat their way up the stem on the inside. If you catch them early you can slit the stem with a sharp knife and poke it up in the stem to kill the worm.
We have been seeing and removing squash lady beetles for a couple of weeks now. If you do this consistently they are not that much of a problem.

Just in the past few days we have started seeing the eggs of the squash bug. They are shiny and bronze in color and are mostly found on the underside of the leaf in the triangle where the large leaf ribs meet. They are very hard to remove and have hard shells so we usually end up tearing out the part of the leaf where they are and rubbing them between our fingers to destroy them.
There are lots of eggs and when they hatch the young bugs are voracious eaters. You will see stippling on the upper side of the leaf which is a sign to turn the leaf over and remove them before the get big and start to reproduce the next generation.
Squash vine borer damage at the base of a zucchini plant
Squash lady beetle eggs look just like the good lady bug eggs.
Squash lady bug beetle is orange and bigger than lady bugs
Squash bug eggs are most often found on the underside of the leaf
Young squash bugs are easy to squish
The stippling on the top of the leaf is caused by squash bugs feeding underneath. Turn over the leaf and you will find them.