06 July 2008

This bug died



These photos are of a squash bug and its eggs. These little shits destroyed our entire crop last year. What they do is suck out liquid from the squash's stem and at the same time release a poison that will eventually kill the plant. There is a 10-14 day window between when the eggs are laid and their unfortunate hatch. Last year we didn't know what to look for, but now we do and we are addressing them early. Our approach to containing these things is simple, but kind of labor intensive.

When we direct seeded earlier in the spring, we also planted nasturtiums, because apparently they work as a deterrent. As the photos indicate, so far, not so effing good. We don't have a lot of squash bugs (last year was awful), so maybe there is some proof in the pudding. The meticulous bit of our control mission is to check under the leaves (oh yeah, that's where they do business) twice a week and smash them when we find them. Now granted, we have a decent sized garden, but anything larger than this and I would have to say, "eff this," to the hand to bug combat.

If you're not down with smashing them or pollinating the plants by hand (that's another alternative that requires the use of row covers), the best thing to do is practice preventative maintenance during fall clean up and mulch heavily in the spring. We did both, but our infestation was really bad last year so it may take a while before we can convince them all to pack up and go. If you've got them, good luck.

7 comments:

el said...

I hate them too. My experience is some years they're a plague, some years hand-to-hand works, and one year they weren't a problem at all. After the bad year I nearly abandoned squash altogether. What I do every year, though, is pull up the plants early (always a good thing as how many zucchini do you need, really) and burn them, bugs, eggs and all.

CeeCee said...

There's something sort of refreshing about killing the little buggers isn't there? My favorite bug killing method is to collect them and feed them to the chickens. I'm so evil that way.
Good luck getting them under control. Sounds like you're on the right track.

farm mom said...

I'm with El. Last year was a good one for me, this year it's a g-d plague!!!!! UHG!! HATE HATE HATE 'em. Those and the cucumber beetles and the borers.......I'm gonna be mumbling under my breathe in crazy stuccato tones and scaring people all day today!! :/

edifice rex said...

Yeah, they are bad here this year; what few squash plants I had are just about dead. I normally use Pyola, a great organic pesticide but it seems to have no effect on these things.

Jeff said...

cool shirt.

Erica said...

Those little buggers are devilish vampires, that's for sure. I seem to lose a few plants every year to them. You just go out one morning and your plants been sucked dry.

Kelly said...

Good Evening everybody,
Thanks for all the comments. So far we have kept the little shits in check. We looked back at our journal from last year and it looks like they got real bad around early August. So, if we can break that time zone, we may turn out pretty good.

And thanks Jeff. It's one of my favorites.