Worms Eating Zucchini Stems
Last year I had a worm/grub in the stalk of my zucchini plant. They eventually killed the plant. What can I do to prevent this from happening again?
Sqaush vine borers are the culprits. The adult is a day flying moth that lays its eggs at the base of the stems of zucchini and other squash plants. The eggs hatch and the worm-like insects enters the stem and feeds inside. This prevents the flow of water and nutrients between the leaves and roots. Check the stem for tiny brown eggs. Smash any that you find. You can try to save borer infested plants. Slice the damaged stem lengthwise until you find the borers. Kill the borers and bury the stem. It will often re-root (it may already have) beyond the damage allowing the plants to finish out the growing season. Or prevent the adults from laying their eggs on your plants. Some gardeners report success wrapping the plant stems with an old nylon stocking. Always remove and destroy vine crops in the fall. Sanitation will help reduce next year’s problem. You can also try an insecticide labeled for treating this insect on vegetables. Spray only the base of the plant to avoid harming the bees and other desirable insects. Treat when plants start to vine and once a week for 3 to 5 weeks. Be sure to read and follow all label directions.