The Q&A Archives: Squash Vine Borer,

Question: What's the best method (s) to prevent the squash vine borer?
It's my major problems with cukes, zuchini squash, and butter nut. Also, where can I purchase and learn how to use floating row covers, I have read that this can help?

Answer: There are two very important things you can do: careful attention to cleaning up all plant debris during the season and in the fall plus rotate your plantings so that you do not grow cucumbers, squashes or pumpkins in the same location for three years at least. Keep a careful eye out for signs of the sawdust showing that a borer has entered the vine. If you find it early, you may be able to cut the borer out of the vine with a sharp knife.

Floating row covers are usually more helpful against the squash bugs. They are sold through garden centers and catalogs such as Gardeners Supply.

Make sure you use the light weight insect control or summer weight fabric cover rather than the heavier frost protection type. Fabric row covers or floating row covers are lengths of fabric -- a special kind of air and water and light penetrable material. It is laid out flat over top of the plants and pinned or weighted down around the edges to seal out the pests. The plant lift it up as they grow. (It also needs to be opened to allow for pollination.) Heavier weights can be used for several degrees of frost protection but these would build up too much heat during the summer.

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