Squash Bugs

Now that spring is back and summer is on its way, unfortunately so are the pests. Pests and weeds seem to be one of the worst problems for farmers to manage in the heated months. Though there are many ways to help control and prevent them, they still seem to come around anyway.

One of the worst, most abundant pests around is the squash bug. Squash bugs feed on all members from the cucurbit family which includes squash, melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers. the bugs overwinter each year and then lay their eggs in the spring. Damage is done by the bugs when they feed on the plant which causes the plants to lose their water and nutrients which causes yellow spots to appear on the leaves. The plants will then began to wilt and turn to yellow and brown. Plants get badly damaged and can be killed because of squash bugs.

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Squash Bug Identification:
Adult bugs are a gray-brown color, have wings and a flat back. They are about 16 mm long. The underside of the bug is a yellowish color.
Squash bug eggs are a brown-red color and are laid in neat clusters, usually on the underside of plant leaves and stems. There are usually twenty or more eggs in a cluster. Eggs are about 1.5 mm long and have a diamond shape.
The nymphs are a grey-white color and do not yet have wings. They range from 2.5-10 mm long.

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Squash Bug Management:
Bugs can be killed by hand when caught and eggs can be destroyed before the bugs hatch. One easy way to catch a large number of bugs at once is to place wood boards around the plant host vines. The squash bugs will gather underneath the boards over night and bugs can be collected and destroyed all at once. There are some resistant varieties of plants such as butternut squash and royal acorn squash that can be planted. Damaged plant parts should be removed to prevent further plant damage. Having good soils and strong plants will help prevent such easy damage of bugs. Keep a good crop rotation as well.

 

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