Squash Bug Control - Knowledgebase Question

East Canaan, CT
Question by ljrich
November 1, 1997
For 2 years we have had a problem with squash bugs. Do you have any solutions? I don't want to use pesticides; are there friendly bugs I can introduce to my garden to help?


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Answer from NGA
November 1, 1997

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There are a number of things you can do to control squash bugs. When you first purchase the plants, try to find and use resistant varieties. Next, do a good job of cleaning up debris around any of your cucurbit plants--that includes squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers. Squash Bugs overwinter there, and getting rid of debris will be a big deterrent. (Don t put them in the compost.) During the growing season, you can also hand pick or collect and destroy eggs, nymphs, and adult bugs. If you put out boards or pieces of burlap as traps, you can destroy your catch every day.

You can also try covering young plants with a floating row cover, secured all around so bugs can't crawl under. Just be sure to remove the cover when vines begin flowering, so bees can do their job of pollinating.

Squash bug nymphs are often parasitized by various flies and wasps; unfortunately, I'm not aware of any you can purchase and release in your garden. You can, however, attract beneficial insects to your garden by including a mix of flowers and herbs, especially umbel-type flowers like dill and fennel.

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