Eliminating Squash Bugs
For the last three years squash bugs have sucked the life out of my pumpkins, melons and squash. I prefer not to use insecticides but really do not want to give up growing these vegetables. Please help.
You are right. This pest can suck the life out of young vine crops. Control is only needed when the plants are young and flowering. Mature plants can usually tolerate the damage. Keep your plants healthy and growing vigorously so they are better able to tolerate the damage. Try knocking small populations of the adult and immature squash bugs into a can of soapy water. Be sure to check under the leaves and stems. And as you probably know, you must be quick since they move fast when disturbed. Crush the small (1/16th inch) yellowish-bronze eggs found on the underside of the leaves and stems. Try trapping the adults with wet newspaper or boards laid on the soil around the plants. The squash bugs will gather under these at night and can be collected and destroyed in the morning. One gardener reported good luck using a wet white towel. Lastly be sure to clean up debris surrounding the garden. The debris creates a great hiding place for this pest. In fall remove all plant debris, especially vine crops, where the squash bug may overwinter.