In the Garden: Squashing the Squash bug

Dealing with the pesky pest to save your crop
Published: Jul. 24, 2022 at 9:16 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - In this “In the Garden,” our Sharon Meyer and garden expert Charlie Nardozzi discuss how to deal with a pesky pest to save your crop.

Sharon Meyer: Charlie, the vegetable gardens are really coming along. It’s really getting exciting. You think they can just sort of take care of themselves but you really need to be careful at this stage of the game.

Charlie Nardozzi: Yes, especially things like squash, summer squash and winter squash, there is one pest that has been lurking for a while but you probably haven’t noticed it. That’s the squash bug.

Sharon: So you wanna look for it?

Charlie: You wanna start looking for it and specifically looking for the eggs. Because they are going to be all over the place and of course eggs hatch and they turn into these little gray babies which are kind of small versions of the adult squash bug which kind of looks like a stink bug its a big gray bug. You see that around you want to crush that one, too.

Sharon: OK.

Charlie: But anyway they will be on all kinds of squash, pumpkins, summer squash, zucchini and they lay their eggs in clusters on the bottom sides of the leaves often in lines and often between the veins of the leaves.

Sharon: They are very organized?

Charlie: They are very organized how they do this and then in a week or so they hatch into these little gray babies that look very innocent like most babies do, but then they get bigger. because they start feeding more and more on the leaves and on the flowers and the veggies, so in the first few weeks you might not notice much damage but then as you get a little further along into the summer you are noticing more and more damage on the leaves and on the plant and because these guys love to procreate so they’ll just keep laying eggs and keep hatching and before you know it you have swarms of them all over your plant.

Sharon: Ughhh, OK.

Charlie: So now is the time to do something about it, before it gets out of hand and that means flipping over the leaves, go out in the garden every day or so, just flip over the leaves and crush those eggs that are on the bottom with your thumb, or if you’re a little squeamish about that you can take scissors and cut them out and put them in some soapy water.

Sharon: Put a glove on and do it.

Charlie: Yeah put a glove on and do it, whatever it is, but if you stay on top of that I have found you will get some squash bug and some damage but it wont be anything you have to worry about.

Sharon: And you’ll still get your crop?

Charlie: And you’ll still get your crop.

Sharon: Right and that’s the important thing.

Charlie: Now, if you want to get the adults they are a little trickier but there is a simple thing for them too, the same thing you can do with slugs by the way, just put a board down next to your squash plant. Come out in the morning and often you’ll find these gray stink bug like bugs, that’s the squash bug adult and you can just drop that into a pail of soapy water too. So staying on top of the pest even if it just means five minutes, checking the leaves here and there, that’s going to be enough to save your squash for the season.

Sharon: You really want to stay ahead of this because there really is nothing better than those fresh vegetables at the end of the summer.

Charlie: Yeah, grilled zucchini, I love it!

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