The Q&A Archives: Reasons for Squash with Shriveled Fruits

Question: I am having a mysterious problem with my squash. The plant itself seems very healthy- no disease, discolorations, or bugs. It has many blossoms and small squash, but if I leave the small squash on the plant to develop, they become less firm and seem to be shriveling. I have opened them up expecting to find a bug inside, but I have not found anything. The only bugs I have seen near the squash are millipede-like bugs which roll up into a ball when I pick them up. They're worm-like and rust in color with small antennae and a hard outer skeleton. I have not found any similiar insects in my gardening books and I have not found them on the plant or squash themselves so I'm not comvinced they're the culprits. Help! Melinda Bartoszewicz, Tallahassee, FL

Answer: It sounds like your squash problem has more to do with the bees than other insects. Squash need bees to pollinate the flowers. If the bees aren't flying or pollinating the squash fruit doesn't get pollinated and eventually it shrivels and dies on theplant. If the squash fruits have black at the blossom end, it could also be blossom end rot effecting the plant. Mulch the squash plants with a 4-6 inch layer of hay, straw... and keep them well watered. You can't force bees to fly and pollinate squash, but you can plant flowers such as salvia to attract them. Also you can hand pollinate the squash blossoms yourself by taking a small artists paint brush and rubbing the pollen from the male (without a small squash behind the flower) flower and into the female (with a small squash behind the flower) flower. This should work!

« Click to go to the homepage

» Ask a question of your own

Q&A Library Searching Tips

  • When singular and plural spellings differ, as in peony and peonies, try both.
  • Search terms are not case sensitive.

Today's site banner is by ge1836 and is called "Sempervivum Henry Carrevon"