Squash Vine Borer Control - Knowledgebase Question

Dayton, OH
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Question by soccer1612
December 28, 1997
After trying numerous methods to eliminate squash vine borers, I was wondering if there are any pumpkin plants that may be resistant to this problem.

Answer from NGA
December 28, 1997
I don't know of any pumpkins that are resistant to squash vine borers, the bane of squash growers. I know you said you have tried numerous methods, but I thought I would reiterate a couple of strategies.

Just as squash is beginning to flower in your area, the adult moth lays eggs on the stems, usually within six inches of the ground. The eggs hatch and the larvae tunnel into the stems to feed for four weeks, which eventually causes the plants to wilt and die. There are two generations of moth/larvae a year in the South and they overlap, which makes this a bigger problem throughout the summer. Prevent the moth from laying eggs by wrapping the stem with a barrier such as aluminum foil or covering the whole plant with a floating row cover until blossom time. If you use row covers, keep the plants well watered. Squash plants tend to dry out quickly under them. If the larvae get inside the stems and you see the sawdustlike frass begin to ooze out, inject Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis var.kurstaki) into the stems with a garden syringe about 1/2 inch above the soil line every two weeks, starting after first flowering. If you miss some of the borers, slit the stem, remove the larvae and replant the slit stem. In fall, remove and destroy the squash plantdebris where the larvae overwinter.

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