The squash crop is looking pretty good so far but has had its share of problems.
Earlier in the season we were worried about squash vine borers moving in. Now we have a new pest that we need to take care of, squash bugs. A few days ago I spotted a very familiar sight, squash bug eggs. Once you’ve seen them, you’ll won’t forget them, especially after they’ve decimated your crop.
The eggs are small, shiny, metallic-looking usually found on the underside of the leaves. Many egg clusters I’ve seen this year are appearing on the top side of the leaf. Generally, the female lays clusters of eggs that follow the outline of the veins of the leaves giving the clusters a roughly triangular shape.
Squash bugs can do a lot of damage to your vine crops if you are not careful. Several years ago I had nearly half an acre of pumpkins that became infested with squash bugs. We tried battling them with the first line of attack, crushing their eggs whenever we came across them. After crushing literally hundreds of egg masses, it became apparent we were not going to be able to keep up with the insects. We ended up having to resort to applying an insecticide to save the crop.
The eggs hatch about ten days after being laid. The young newly hatched nymphs have a soft “skin” and are very susceptible to contact-type insecticides. Spraying the nymph stage is your best chance to control these pests since the adult bugs are very tough and hard to kill.