Squash bug control

Pumpkin    PA

I really need some advice for controlling squash bugs on my pumpkins. They seem to be multiplying very quickly and i don't want to have to use any nasty chemicals on them. What can I do to prevent major damage to my crop?

Posted by: Michelle Hay (1 point) Michelle Hay
Posted: June 5, 2013


I've found that tightly sealed row covers (until the plants begin to flower) help keep the early arrivals from laying their eggs. That's too late for you, though.

After removing the row covers, I try to check the underside of every leaf every day for the easy-to-spot yellow or orangey-brown eggs of this pest. You can usually scrape away the eggs with your fingernail; when the plants get large and sprawling, you can remove an entire leaf that's heavily infested. Diatomaceous earth spread around the base of the plants will destroy some of the young nymphs that congregate there, and hand-squashing will eliminate a few more.

But in my experience, once you have a major infestation, it's almost impossible to bring them under control, even with approved chemical agents. Sigh. Maybe it's not too late to start over with a fresh seeding?

Be sure to remove or till under all plant debris from this crop in the early fall so you don't allow the late larvae to mature. Plant field peas or oats as a cover crop to prevent winter soil erosion.

Posted by: Peg Boyles (3 points) Peg Boyles
Posted: June 5, 2013

You can safely spray with Neem Oil. I try to spray every week to 10 days during the whole squash and pumpkin growing season. Neem oil is selective, meaning it will not harm any of the good bugs. Don't ask me why; I guess God just made Neem that way. It is the only thing I use in my garden besides floating row cover (which is a pain to use, in my opinion). Neem oil (which can be found on the organic shelf of your hardware or ag store) doesn't totally eliminate the squash bugs, but does control them sufficiently to enable the plants to survive and thrive. Trying to control them by squashing, scraping off eggs, etc, is a losing battle.

Posted by: Sharon Reece (2 points) Sharon Reece
Posted: June 27, 2013

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