The Q&A Archives: Squash Vine Borer

Question: Methoxychlor for treatment of sqush vine borer on summer squash is no longer available. (Cornell University recommends this chemical). What other chemicals are available to us to combat the sqash vine borer in its egg-laying stage?

Answer: The immature larvae of the Squash Vine Borer are the bad guys who damage squash plants. If you can keep the adults from laying eggs on or near the stems of your plants, you'll eliminate the problem A floating row cover will work as a barrier against the adult pests, but the timing has to be just right when covering and uncovering your plants or you'll not only keep the adults away, you'll keep pollinating insects away, too. On the other hand, you might just give the pests an easy entry, along with the good insects. The adult Squash Vine Borer is active from April through early summer in your region, which is quite a long time to keep a row cover over your plants. Instead of a row cover, try planting French Marigolds near the base of your squash plants to repel the insects, and inspect the vines every day or two for signs of eggs. Alternately, you can wrap a foil collar, or piece of pantyhose, around the plant base to keep the adults from laying eggs. As a last resort, you might try burying the vines up to the blossoms to protect them from invasion.

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