The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

July 18, 2008

Squash Those Bugs !

Filed under: Uncategorized — bob @ 5:47 pm

While we were out hoeing the pumpkins a few days ago, I came across a familiar but unwelcome site… a cluster of tiny,  hard objects on one of the leaves.  I knew what it was immediately, we have had these before.  It was a egg mass from a Squash Bug.

Squas Bug Egg Mass

I told my helpers to be on the look out for them. Usually the eggs  are found on the under side of a leaf.

Eggs On Stem

They can also be found on a stem or anywhere else on the plant.

Squash Bugs feed on all members of the Squash family of plants, pumpkins included.

I asked my helpers to count the number of egg mass as we set out to smash them by hand.  I was curious about how many there were and thought that you might be interested as well.

We have three 75 foot rows of pumpkins planted into black plastic mulch. The first row had about 75 egg masses, the middle row had 45 egg masses, while the last row had 85 eggs masses.  Each egg mass ranged from a dozen to over 25 individual eggs per clutch.  Anyway you do the math, that would have been a lot of Squash Bugs feeding on our plants!

Our vines were about this long at the time of counting:

Pumpkin Vines

The easiest way to look for those bugs is to raise up the entire vine (or roll it over) and check each leaf.  The eggs are very easy to spot.

The Squash Bugs feed by sucking the juice out of the plant. after which the leaves turn brittle and begin to turn brown. The number of bugs that would have hatched could have caused us a major drop in yield or possibly even a crop failure.

Here’s a portrait of  Mama Bug:

Female Squash Bug

Smash her too while you’re at it !  This one oozed out an unusual iridescent blue color when crushed. I’ll spare you the gory photo :)

Squash Bugs like to hide  from their enemies by crawling under debris. You can use this to your advantage by placing a board near your plant and leaving it over night. By morning, the bugs will have crawled under the board to hide (not knowing that it was you who placed it there).  Lift up the board and dispatch any you find.

Our problem is that we have plastic mulch that they like to hide under and couldn’t  care less about any  board.

While they will do a lot of damage to your squash and pumpins, the good news is that they only breed once a year.

I’ll check the plants now and then to take care of any bugs we may have missed.



  1. Squash bugs! I’ve been plagued with them from since day we moved in. They were everywhere, and not a squash plant in sight.

    I’m still not sure what they found/find so interesting in the garage and the barn. Of course I have squash now, but I still have more of those nasty critters in the barn then in the garden. I will try the board on the ground trick though.

    Squash bugs, Japanese beetles, cucumber beetles are all giving me fits. I admit defeat. This year I dusted the beans, only the beans. I lost to many last summer to just let it go.

    At least this year I didn’t have the deer and rabbit damage. I got a puppy in Feb. and she’s a good varmint deterrent.

    Comment by Vicki — July 24, 2008 @ 12:41 pm

  2. Hey there, great info on these bugs! I love the board trick, going to try that out today. You have so much room for growing! I am envious :) 3 75 ft. rows of pumpkin! I have 2 plants haha… 104 square feet total in my back yard with some zucchini, pumpkin, and corn growing.

    I see (and neutralize) about 3 cucumber beetles a day. Today was my first squash bug sighting. I think it is a young one. I have not seen their clutch of eggs, I have been looking all over my leaves, paranoid of the little critters and now they are finally here. I did snap a pic so you could see….

    Oh wow, I realized how old this post is… kind of like talking to the past, but oh well! Info is info! Thank you so very much. If the story of planting a veggie garden as a complete newbie interests you, come visit my blog :)

    Comment by Steve — July 21, 2010 @ 11:50 am

  3. Hi Steve, The post may have been from the past, but I still keep track of all comments made in the present. :) The board trick works best in situations like yours where there are only a few plants to care for. Otherwise, without some helpers it can be an overwhelming task.
    I’ll make it a point to visit your blog.
    Best of luck to you.

    Comment by bob — August 29, 2010 @ 11:33 am

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