The Q&A Archives: Squash Borer

Question: I am working on an IPM program with respect to the squash borer bug and zucchini summer squash, cucurbita pepo. Will the use of black plastic mulch and a soaker water system aid me in this plan? I will be using row covers very carefully.

Answer: Squash vine borer adults make an opening in the squash vine and deposit eggs. These eggs turn into larvae which feed on the inside of the vine, collapsing it. Any barrier you can use against the adults having access to the vines will be effective. Covering the soil with plastic will keep any critters from emerging from the ground to attack your plants and row covers will certainly stop adults from flying in to lay their eggs. The only caution you need to keep in mind is that if you cover the plants and eliminate all insects, you'll need to hand pollinate the flowers in order to get fruit.

Good luck with your IPM project!

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