Pest Management: What Killed Your Squash Plant

THE PEST: Squash Vine Borer aka Squash Bug aka your worst nightmare if you are trying to grow anything from the Cucurbitaceae family, this includes squash, watermelon, zucchinis or pumpkins. 

Squash Vine Borers (Melittia satyriniformis) drop eggs onto thick vine type crops that hatch into grubby white caterpillar and will take down your entire plant.

Squash Vine Borers (Melittia satyriniformis) drop eggs onto thick vine type crops that hatch into grubby white caterpillar and will take down your entire plant.

INFESTATION SYMPTOMS: A couple of WTFs are usually one of the early signs a squash bug has been spotted in your growing space. Once referred to around my house as that crazy alien bird beetle that's hovering (yes hovering) over my pumpkin patch. These guys can take down an entire plant within a few days. Infestations are usually spotted too late, but your leafs will start to wilt and the plant will begin to collapse and then die. The vines will also become mushy and rotten.

These guys are really a location based problem. The vine borer can spot Cucurbitaceae from miles away and will keep coming back year after year to your pumpkin patch. Nothing really helps so put your wallet away and plan to pull eggs from your plant daily for about two weeks out of the year sometime between July and August.. So worth it, because who doesn't want to grow their own squash?! If you have been overwhelmed year after year by Vine Borer infestations try planting butternut squash only, rumor has it they are resistant to the vine borer take down. 

 

 

Check the underside of leafs and the base of your plant for brown small poppyseed like eggs. Remove the eggs with your fingernail or a dull knife. Once you've discovered a few eggs check back daily until egg laying has stopped.

The Vine Borer will only lay eggs for about two weeks out of the season.

Good luck! Happy Vine Borer Hunting!!