Thursday, July 5, 2012

Squash bugs Must Die!!

Last year I lost my entire squash and cucumber planting to, what I found out later were, squash bugs. They killed my poor plants in short order. They went from food producing bushes to composted brown spots on the ground in 2 days. Yep, that quick.
This morning I saw this seasons first squash bug and tons of eggs. Yuck! They are gross. They look like giant stink bugs but they eat my plants. Thus, they must die! Every single one of them. Dead. Stat.
 Unfortunately I didn't know how to make that happen. After a few minutes online I compiled a few different ideas. Here's what I settled on, it seemed to work. The general consensus is that squash bugs are an ongoing problem that you have to stay on top of.

I made up a spray bottle with some castille soap and water. I used about 1/6 a bar of Dr Bonners (unscented baby) that I had in the pantry and filled 1/2 a spray bottle with warm water. I let it sit on the counter for a few hours. I also took with me a pair of scissors to cut out any parts of the leaves that had eggs laid on them and  a bowl to put the infected leaves.
The soap spray was supposed to kill the adult and baby bugs. However, I found that is simply stunned my big bugs long enough for me to squish them. With much satisfaction in my heart, I must say. It did kill the younger bugs that were still white. They tend to pile together at the base of the plant so make sure you look really well.

This is a web photo of the baby bugs.
I brought the bowl of yucky egg covered leaves inside and put them in a large ziploc bag. I sealed it well and threw it in the trash. You can also burn them, but seriously, it's like 100 degrees. I'm not making a fire.

Death row for squash bug eggs.
You must be diligent with killing all the infested plants at the end of the year too. Apparently these yucky buggers just hang out and come back next year. Pull up all the plants and burn them. I also plan to turn the chickens lose on the garden after we pull the plants so they can scratch up and eat any left over bugs that are hiding in the ground. Oh, and be sure to rotate your plantings next year.
Ok, that's all I've learned about these nasty buggers. If you have anything to add that's worked for you, please share.
In the mean time, happy gardening!


  1. I just take a paring knife and scrape the eggs off the back. If there's babies, I fold the leaf in half and squish them dead. I'm concerned that if I cut off too many leaves the plant won't continue to grow.

  2. Aren't you worried that the eggs will still hatch?

  3. Well, it's more of a squish/scrape thing I guess. I've never had much of a problem, but after awhile I just let them take over. I'm about zucchini'd out by then anyway LOL

    1. Yeah, I get that. We just picked our very first zucchini so I'm not ready to turn them over yet.

  4. Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around the plants has helped keep mine under control. But today I just pulled out every last plant by its roots and dumped the whole mess into the trash bin. Would burn them in there, but I'm afraid it would burn the bin as well. The DE has worked fairly well up to now, but I've had all the zucchinis I can eat, make into relish or freeze for use in zucchini bread this winter, so I'm not grieving. How can I kill what's left in the soil? Will the Diatomaceous Earth do the job?