Kill Those Stinking Squash Bugs!

There's nothing better than harvesting fresh vegetables from your own garden. And there's nothing more infuriating than never getting to harvest any vegetables because some low-down, mean, contemptible, savage, un-Christian, good-for-nothing bug or critter beat you to it!

With that thought in mind, here's an urgent dispatch from Dolly.

"Do you know of any method to control/eradicate squash bugs? These things are uncontrollable."

Well, gosh, Dolly, if that were true, there'd be no reason to email the Grump. Fortunately, squash bugs can be controlled if you'll follow his expert and brilliant advice.

Clean Up the Garden

The key to controlling squash bugs is to interrupt their life cycle, because there is only one generation per year. Adult females overwinter in plant debris, then emerge in spring to lay clusters of reddish brown eggs on the undersides of squash, cucumber, melon, gourd, and pumpkin leaves. You can reduce their numbers by removing all vines, leaves, and other plant debris from the soil surface in late fall and destroying it. Burn it if would make you feel better. (Immolating loathsome pests always makes Grumpy feel better.) Not planting squash in the same spot every year also helps. Squash bugs, which are closely related to stink bugs, suck the plant's juices, causing leaf spots that start off yellow and then turn brown. Infested plants weaken and die.

Plant Resistant Varieties

Some squash types are resistant to squash bugs, including 'Butternut,' 'Early Summer Crookneck,' 'Improved Green Hubbard,' and 'Royal Acorn.' If you plant non-resistant types, check the leaf undersides frequently for eggs clusters and destroy the infested leaves.

Spray with Neem

Neem oil, a natural pesticide, has been shown to effectively control squash bugs. Spray it on all leaf and stem surfaces according to label directions. You can get this at many garden centers or order it from planetnatural.com.

Of Course, You Could Always......

......squash them. But remember they're kin to stink bugs. Squashed squash bugs smell awful.

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Thanx to Jeff Moser for the bug pic.

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