Archive for the ‘squash-vine borer’ Category


This weekend I’ve been battling two bugs, the leaf-footed bug and the dreaded squash-vine borer. The squash vine borer took out half of my zucchini several weeks ago, but had not been near the pumpkin. I read that they prefer other squash to pumpkins, so I was hoping mine would go untouched. Unfortunately, no such luck. I did have SVBs take out pumpkins in the same bed last year, so there is always the chance that these came from an overwintering pupae. Just in case, I plan on avoiding pumpkins next year, since I only have one spot to plant 30 sq ft 🙂 

We’re still getting tons of zucchini, so I’m happy with my little survivers. I check for SVB eggs several times a week and still find one or two each time. I’m just waiting for the day that they get past me and I lose another plant. In the meantime I’m just eating, sharing and attempting the zucchini world record. (completely by accident of course).
I’ve found the leaf-footed bugs on both my tomatoes an the pumpkins. They seem to prefer the romas. I believe it is because they have more places to hide. I killed about 10 yesterday. I kept a watchful eye for several hours, waiting for them to emerge. I even discovered two mating, which I put a quick stop to. The ones on the pumpkins are a lot easier to see. 
Leaf-Footed Bug Nymph
I’m not to the point where I can squash a nasty bug w/ my bare hands, so here’s my weapon of choice. I grab the bug with the tongs, throw it on the ground and smash it with my shoe. 

Read Full Post »

>After my tough day on Wednesday I started doing some research. These squash vine borers really are nasty little creatures, and not the easiest to prevent. I found some good web pages.


Here are the main suggestions I’ve found…

1. use row cover until plant flowers
– This one wouldn’t have worked this year. By late April I was already harvesting squash, so covering them until they were blooming would have done nothing.

2. Watch for eggs and remove
– I planted too many squash plants too close together. There is no way I could have seen anything. Next year I’ll create a little more space in between. Now that I have removed several plants (due to death) I can really get in there and have been able to find eggs.

3. Spray / Wipe down plants w/ BTK

– I don’t know much about this. I’ve read that it’s safe, but would like to talk to The Natural Gardener about it.

4. Plant sacrificial squash

– The ohio web site mentions that SVBs like hubbard squash more than other kinds. This would be an interesting experiment to put different types of squash in different areas to see which ones get hit the hardest. Hopefully, the more popular would keep the SVBs away from the less popular ones.

5. Create multiple roots

– I like this one too. You bury different sections of the base so they’ll generate roots. This way if part of the plant is damaged it’s change of survival is higher.

6. Rotate Beds

– I already plan on doing this. This is my first year with a garden big enough to rotate. I definitely plan on having the squash in a different location next year. This year was my first time doing summer squash, so I know that the larvae came from eggs, not from overwintering.

7. Succession Planting

– Keep planting new squash plants throughout the season. If some get destroyed than you should have seeds going in the ground for the next set. This is a great idea. You harvest all of the squash you can before the SVBs hit and once they do just start over. The family could probably use a break from all of that squash anyway 🙂

Update …
I went to the Natural Gardener yesterday afternoon and got one more suggestion.
8. Hand Pollinate
– Keep the row cover on permanently. Instead of having the bees pollinate, do it yourself. At first I thought this was a bad idea, very labor intensive, but after thinking on it a bit I realized it’s much less work than slicing open plants and digging out larvae. I may consider this one next year.

Read Full Post »


I’ve been enjoying my squash bounty knowing that it would eventually come to an end. The squash vine borers took out my pumpkin plants last year and I was waiting for their arrival this year. This morning I did my walk through before work and found one plant looking extremely pathetic. All of the leaves were drooping. Once I thought about it I realized that the leaves were a little droopy yesterday but I didn’t think anything of it. I should have known. Well anyway … it was too late for that plant. I ripped it out and started inspecting the others. Turns out I had a serious infestation on my hands. I found these terrible little creatures in all but one of my plants. I spent two hours digging them out. I lost two plants this morning and it looks like another three won’t make it. We’ll just have to wait and see about the rest. I hope I got all of them, but I’m not sure. By then end of my major surgery I was getting pretty good at determining exactly where the SVBs were, which hopefully did less damage to the plants. 

Squash Plant completely eaten through

An early catch. Here’s what to look for. The yellowish substance is called frass. You can’t always see it, since it is often underneath the plant, but you’ll always be able to feel the gooey glob where the SVB entered the plant. The plant feels dry aside from this. 

More carnage

Read Full Post »