Georgia Garden Girl

Garden Great in Zone 8!

Squash Growers: Inspect for Invaders!

on May 16, 2014

Every year, I have been thwarted by my evil arch nemesis, the squash vine borer. If you’re not familiar with this pest, count your lucky stars. A squash vine borer will turn your beautiful zucchini plant into a wilting heap of tragedy overnight. It’s bad, y’all.

So I moved my squash patch and resolved to be extra vigilant this year. I haven’t been great on the “extra vigilant” part, in part because of my wonderful trip last week to Holland, Michigan to see the tulips (more later). But I did move the zucchini to a spot that is right outside my carport, so I do see them a bit more often than I see some of my other veggies. I decided to check the vines for eggs yesterday, and I found some.

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The book Good Bug, Bad Bug by Jessica Walliser suggests picking off the eggs and squashing them, plus spraying with a horticultural oil. And then double check for frass. If you see frass (it looks like sawdust), that means that the borer larvae have already hatched and started treating your plant as an all-you-can-eat buffet. Gently cut the stem with an X-acto knife and extract the borer with some tweezers. Then cover the wound with dirt. Here is a picture of a larva from last year, when I didn’t catch the eggs in time.

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So, if you live in Middle Georgia and you’re growing squash or pumpkins, get outside this weekend and look for eggs. You’ll be so glad you did!

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2 responses to “Squash Growers: Inspect for Invaders!

  1. Sarah says:

    Hello! My husband and I LOVE your site! We have found it SO helpful with our garden (being new to the state and not knowing what to expect, this site has been a great resource). We just moved to Georgia (Zone 8A) and recently started our garden. There are some things going on with our bell peppers and tomatoes that appears to be a disease/fungus. Is there any way I could e-mail you a couple of pictures of the plants and you could help me figure out what it is so that I may treat it accordingly?

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