The Q&A Archives: bugs

Question: my cucumber, zucchinni and spagetti squash vines are sick, the leaves are turning yellow and wilting and dying. There are bugs on them that lay tiny rust colored eggs on the leaves then when they hatch they look like little spider things. the bigger one have fat white butts and their
legs and antenna are black. I sprayed them with a homemade spray of ivory liquid dish soap and vegtable oil. I put a tablespoon of each in a
gallon of water and they laugh at me.

Answer: These sound like a classic case of squash bug infestation. There is only one generation of this pest each year. Some gardeners will use floating row cover to exclude the adults, but if you do this you will have to hand pollinate to assure a crop. (Once they have laid eggs on your plants it is too late to use a row cover.) Later plantings can sometimes avoid their emergence as well. If you can be vigilant and remove the eggs before they hatch, or catch the nymphs by hand, that is a big step toward control. A board placed on the ground near the plants can be helpful in catching the nymphs. Carbaryl (Sevin) will kill them, including the adults, but you must directly contact them with the spray. If you try this, be sure to read and follow all of the label directions. Finally, when the vines are finished, clean up all the debris and dispose of it in the trash to limit overwintering places for the adults. Good luck with your squashes!

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