Garden Pest: Squash Bugs

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It seems that every garden season or at least every other one, I have a new visitor (garden pest) enter my glorious growing areas – no matter how many times I change locations, move the crops, etc.  Although, I always manage to have a decent yield while staying organic without the use of insecticides, pesticides, poisons, chemicals, and so on.

In the past, I have wrote about other garden pests, such as the Japanese Beetles – that once decided to come into my corn field as a throng of silk-eating freaks, and as the battle raged on, I was still victorious minus several ears of corn; ha!  Last year I got to finally meet the beloved Tomato Hornworms, as those fat, green caterpillars got catapulted  from my garden in a ballistic fashion, after realizing that they were eating my tomato plants like a crazed glut!

This year, I decided to grow more squash than usual, so guess what?  I got visited by lots of squash bugs!  By the way, I experimented with a different way to grow squash, as I staggered my planting session into two-week intervals and spread them out in different areas in the yard.  This allowed me to not only have an ongoing supply of squash, but it also gave me a good idea of how well the plants did in different areas and conditions, such as more shade versus more sun, soil conditions, etc.  All in all, I found out that squash, at least the ones I planted, do better in areas that get sun during the first and latter parts of the day, and shade during the middle of the day.

Well, I’m getting off subject here, and I was going to briefly talk about these pesky little garden pests known as “squash bugs.”

In my opinion, these bugs can easily be worked around without the use of poisons.  The main thing, is to make sure your squash plants get a good start in fertile soil with enough water, as once they grow to a large size, it doesn’t seem to matter if the foliage is being ate by these squash bugs.  It is when they attack early and get on the young squash plants, is when your yield is mostly affected.   Basically, if you have a healthy squash plant that is flourishing, by the time these bugs do enough damage to kill the plant, you would have most likely already picked several squash from the plant.

Anyway, if you know what to look for, you can remove these little devils before very much damage occurs.  First, you need to know what the squash bug eggs look like:

squash_bugs_eggs

Please note, you must check underneath the big leaves on your squash plants, as well, because they like to hide these egg clusters on the underside in addition to the egg clusters that are in plain site.  At any rate, it shouldn’t be much of a problem for you to scrape the eggs off so you can discard them.  Without the use of chemical sprays, that’s all there is to it, really.  If you have a massive amount of squash plants and want to keep things organic but are too lazy to check your plants for squash bugs and/or squash bug eggs, well:  You better make sure your plants are thriving from the start and it wouldn’t hurt to use some organic compost, beforehand, to help give ’em the boost they need to combat this particular garden pest.

Below, is a photo of the Squash Bug nymphs, not long after they hatch:

squash_bugs_nymphs

This next image, displays an adult squash bug:

squash_bug_adult

Well, now that you know what may have been eating your squash plants and just how easy they are to locate and remove, you have no reason outside of bad weather and soil conditions, to not have an excellent yield of squash!  My favorite way to prepare yellow summer squash, is of course the least healthy – which is breaded and fried, but it is so yummy!  Ha!

—End of Post

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