The Q&A Archives: Controlling Gray Cucumber/Squash Beetles

Question: What can I do about the gray beetles that kill squash cucumbers, etc. The leaves wilt quickly once the vine is attacked. Then the vines eventually die. Karen Windhusen Beaver City, NE

Answer: It sounds like your garden is plagued by squash bugs. They overwinter in piles of debris in the garden, so remove dead vines from the garden after harvest. They also hide in deep mulch. Plant your crop this year far away from where it was located last year, and if it's manageable, use a trellis, as the vines are less succeptible if kept off the ground. If you can't trellis them, cover the young plants with a floating row cover like reemay (available from Gardener's Supply - or call 1-800-863-1700) to exclude the adults. Uncover the plants when they begin to bloom to allow bees to pollinate.

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