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squash bugs...

 
Jamie Jackson
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Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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Last year I had almost no squash bugs, but did have some right at the end of the season. I had a wonderful sea of beneficial flowers growing around the garden. This fall/winter I didn't mow that area and a good many of the beneficials didn't grow. Big lesson learn, mow in the fall in areas I want a sea of wildflowers. Anyway...

My planting is chaotic and random. I planted two sacrificial squash plants in an area where I had squash bugs last year. When the plants were full of squash bugs, I burned them. The new squash plants I put in buckets with new dirt and they are planted up on the hill with us (instead of on the bottom in the garden). They are about 1,000+ feet away from the old planting area. Out of 7 squash plants, 3 today had squash bugs! The buckets aren't anywhere near each other and set in patches of clover, thistle, self-heal and whatever wildflowers I could find.

I'm picking the bugs, killing the eggs. I noticed the squash bugs REALLy like the bull thistle, but I don't have enough of those plants around to put a squash next to each. Another lesson learned, keep thistles for the squash plants. I kept a few thistles because of a milk curdling experiment my neighbor and I are going to do and mowed down the rest. Then I noticed the squash bug thing.

So any suggestions?
 
Brenda Groth
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try some wood ashes and let us know if it works..ok?
 
Jamie Jackson
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Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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Brenda Groth wrote:try some wood ashes and let us know if it works..ok?


Just sprinkle around the base?
 
Jamie Jackson
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Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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Brenda Groth wrote:try some wood ashes and let us know if it works..ok?


Ok, went around the base of each squash plant and out about the size of a plate around each. Made sure the ash went up the stem about an inch or so too. HOpe it works!
 
Deb Stephens
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Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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I read this hoping for a good solution and saw you were also in Missouri. Is it just a kind of rule that all the squash bugs on the planet seem to end up here?! I have lost all my summer squash this year, one after another and I've about had it with these guys! I do have a good variety of squashbug-resistant winter squash though. White cushaw gets them, but they don't seem to be fatal for it. I still harvest a ton of it if I keep killing the adults and destroying the eggs to keep the numbers down. No such luck with summer squash -- it seems like one or two bugs can damage it so severely it just gives up. Although I admit we have had moles tunneling under a lot of them too and some of the deaths may have been from rootlets hanging in midair in the tunnels instead of sucking up water and nutrients like they are supposed to. I'm thinking I will plant them in chicken wire baskkets in the ground next time.

Any help out there for blister beetles? That's the other one!
 
Jamie Jackson
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Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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Deb Stephens wrote:I read this hoping for a good solution and saw you were also in Missouri. Is it just a kind of rule that all the squash bugs on the planet seem to end up here?! I have lost all my summer squash this year, one after another and I've about had it with these guys! I do have a good variety of squashbug-resistant winter squash though. White cushaw gets them, but they don't seem to be fatal for it. I still harvest a ton of it if I keep killing the adults and destroying the eggs to keep the numbers down. No such luck with summer squash -- it seems like one or two bugs can damage it so severely it just gives up. Although I admit we have had moles tunneling under a lot of them too and some of the deaths may have been from rootlets hanging in midair in the tunnels instead of sucking up water and nutrients like they are supposed to. I'm thinking I will plant them in chicken wire baskkets in the ground next time.

Any help out there for blister beetles? That's the other one!


The old timer that lives here said he does the sacrificial plant and burns them just before planting and then at the end of the season. Hopefully the ash will help in the in between times. If not, I'll just keep trying different things. I'll keep this thread udpated.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Here I have a lot of squash bugs and TONS of cucumber beetles. I've resorted to handpicking and spacing the plants all around the garden. I always make sure to look close at the stem and if there is a borer or squash bug, I destroy the bug and then hill soil up over the area that the bug was on. Any vine type squash that I grow usually gets a couple scoops of good compost and soil dumped on the vines between fruits to encourage new root growth. Even though I get a few losses each year, I make sure to grow more than I need/want AND start new plants every 2 weeks so that I always have a chance of missing the life cycle of those evil little bugs. While I like to chop and drop when possible, squashes and the like go into a compost pile to help break the life cycle further. Might be worth it to save seeds from the most tolerant plants as well.
 
Morgan Morrigan
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Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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you might also try the plants that repel potato beetles.

from this site
Dead nettle
Flax
Green beans
Horseradish
add onion and garlic

and

http://www.permies.com/t/8652/permaculture/colorado-potato-beetles-vs-permaculture#78989


 
Jamie Jackson
Posts: 202
Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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Morgan Morrigan wrote:you might also try the plants that repel potato beetles.

from this site
Dead nettle
Flax
Green beans
Horseradish
add onion and garlic

and

http://www.permies.com/t/8652/permaculture/colorado-potato-beetles-vs-permaculture#78989




You know I've left the horse nettle in the garden and it totally attracts the flea beattles. I know the bull thistle helps. Since they are in buckets I should just make a point to move the squash near the horse nettle that I've left for the potatoes. Thanks for the tip!!

 
Jamie Jackson
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Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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Maybe it takes a while for the wood ash to work, but so far about the same amount of squash bugs picked off the same plants and new eggs under the leaves. Some of the squash bugs were walking through the ask with no problem?
 
Cam Mitchell
Posts: 108
Location: W. CO, 6A
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Last year I had SBs really bad, and I made a spray of crushed whole cayenne peppers and garlic, and they hated it!

Some tips for dealing with squash bugs:
  • Make sure to clean up old wood around the garden after the season. SBs like to overwinter there. If you don't, just know you'll have to deal with them later, but maybe you can get them early in the spring when they're slow.
  • When picking them off the plant, flood the area to flush them out. They'll run away or crawl up the stem, making them easier to see and remove.
  • Make sure to remove the red eggs from the underside of the leaves. Wrap some duct tape backwards around your hand, press and stick to remove.
  • Unfortunately, not much seems to eat them. My chickens make funny faces when eating them, and wipe their beaks on the ground afterward.
  • Try the spray, it worked for me. Some people use a spray of water and dishwashing liquid (Dawn) with some success, but it it really hard on the plant and hard to "clean" up. (try getting soap out of the ground?)


  • Let us know how it goes!
     
    Craig Dobbelyu
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    Just looked in a bug book of mine that recommends mixing 2tbs of molasses in a splash of cider vinegar, put into a bowl under the plants canopy. Bury it level with the ground and change the liquid once a week. It attracts and taps the bugs.
     
    Alex B.
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    Location: Central FL Zone 9
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    They seem to love my mammoth sunflowers and they don't seem to damage them too bad. I plant them every season as a trap.

    If they get too prolific I'll pull a leaf or two with lots of squash bugs/eggs and feed it to the chickens.

    So far so good. (but I also have lots of lizzards, frogs, and benficial insects to help me out)

     
    Jamie Jackson
    Posts: 202
    Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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    Great ideas everyone. Yeah I did find it easier to pick them off right after I water and I do get the eggs off. I've made the cayenne/ garlic spray for something else, but not this. I"ll try that and the molasses trick. Thanks again!

    I think the real trick is finding something that is NOT squash that provides a "meat" vegetable for us. We're vegetarians and rely heavily on squash.
     
    David Rogers
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    Try spraying your plants with 1T Epson Salts / 1 gal water. Seems to lower the N in the plant. Worth a try. sometimes works for me.

    Dave Rogers
     
    Leila Rich
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    Jamie, are you growing moschata squash species? We don't have SVB here, but from what I read of anguished Americans, moschata are much more resistant than other species.
    How about drying beans? I find beans a great, high-protein storage crop, but I know you've got those bean beetles over there too
     
    Jamie Jackson
    Posts: 202
    Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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    David Rogers wrote:Try spraying your plants with 1T Epson Salts / 1 gal water. Seems to lower the N in the plant. Worth a try. sometimes works for me.

    Dave Rogers

    It's on the schedule to do it, haven't done it yet. Probably next Sunday. That would be nice if it'll work! Since my squash plants are all in buckets spread out all over the place, I've taken to pulling the mulch out EVERYDAY, sometimes twice a day and flooding it and just picking the bugs out as they come out. Then I jump up and down on the mulch to squish any I missed. My body count has DRASTICALLY reduced the last few days. Two plants today had no squash bugs. I was flooding the squash plant too, but that was just too much water for twice a day, so just flooding the mulch. I also keep the mulch about 1 1/2 inches away from the base of the plant so I can really keep a close eye on it.
     
    Jamie Jackson
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    Leila Rich wrote:Janie, are you growing moschata squash species? We don't have SVB here, but from what I read of anguished Americans, moschata are much more resistant than other species.
    How about drying beans? I find beans a great, high-protein storage crop, but I know you've got those bean beetles over there too


    No just regular ole zucchini squash. Online this morning because the aphids are wiping out my beans. Trying to grow using permaculture methods, so I know with the aphids and squash bugs things are missing. Just looking for the missing link. I did mess up this year and didn't mow around the garden this winter, so I have a LOT less support plants than I did last year. That has really hurt me. I didn't realize how important mowing was for wildflowers till I didn't do it.
     
    Brenda Groth
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    sorry I was hopoing the ashes would work as I heard that it might. Also read that if you lay a board down that the bugs will congregate below it and they are easier to find that way? Haven't tried that.
     
    George Lee
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    I didn't read through these responses but...

    Interplant with varieties of RADISH...

    Squash bugs are repelled by the odor...

    Plant a diversity, like everything else..

    I threw a dozen of China Rose, French Breakfast and Daikon out and have had no squashbugs around my winter butternut squash this year...

    Last year they ravaged my crop without inter-planting techniques.

    Cheers -
     
    Leila Rich
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    Jamie (sorry about the typo)
    I've realised that squash bugs and SVB are different things. THat'll learn me for giving advice on something I've never seen!
    I'll leave in my plant recommendation, since these things are cool. Incredibly procuctive too.
    If you've got the space, I'd have a look at zucchini rampicante. It can be eaten young, or matured like winter squash. As a bonus, the fruit grow into these really long, curly, variable shapes that look like hiarious brass band instruments
    The vines can grow huge, and like to go up, so keep that in mind.
     
    Jamie Jackson
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    Location: Zone 5b - 6a, Missouri Ozarks
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    Brenda Groth wrote:sorry I was hopoing the ashes would work as I heard that it might. Also read that if you lay a board down that the bugs will congregate below it and they are easier to find that way? Haven't tried that.


    Well I can't say 100% that it didn't work. I don't know if it's the daily flooding (which has to stop now as we're on self-imposed water budget because of the drought) and squishing or what. I can't lay a board down because they are in 5 gallon buckets. I might move them near a thistle plant. I"ve been holding off because it's not a fenced area, but the animals don't go over there much. But the wildlife might eat it?

    Neighbor and I are giving these experiments our top garden priority and next up the moleasses/ vinegar trick.
     
    Jamie Jackson
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    George Lee wrote:I didn't read through these responses but...

    Interplant with varieties of RADISH...

    Squash bugs are repelled by the odor...

    Plant a diversity, like everything else..

    I threw a dozen of China Rose, French Breakfast and Daikon out and have had no squashbugs around my winter butternut squash this year...

    Last year they ravaged my crop without inter-planting techniques.

    Cheers -


    I get you on the total diversity. We use polyculture plantings and squash 1 is near garlic, pepper, columbine, taragon and kale. The 2nd near gaura biennis, sunflower, rosebushes, grapes, sweet fern etc... on and on. Totally mixed up. But with all the animals I'm sort of limited on fenced area. I have noticed the squash bugs LOVE thistle so going to just go ahead and move them next to different thistle around the property.

    We've got the Japanese beetle situation under control with our planting, but have a few missing links with squash bugs and aphids. But we're learning and trying every day. I will totally put one of the squash near the radish spot. Thanks a million for the tips everyone!
     
    Jay Green
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    Pick off your bugs and make a bug slurry of them and spray down your plants. You can also make a stew of rhubarb leaves and cayenne pepper and spray that liquid on the squash plants as well.
     
    Leila Rich
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    Jamie, here's a ridiculously long-running thread from gardenweb
    it's from the organic forum, but caveat emptor, and all that.
     
    Jamie Jackson
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    Leila Rich wrote:Jamie, here's a ridiculously long-running thread from gardenweb
    it's from the organic forum, but caveat emptor, and all that.


    Thanks, I'll read it on break!!! Very exciting news though, only 2 squash bugs today!!! I think flooding the mulch and stomping on it every day has been the biggest help, the ash may have helped some, the molasses/ vingear didn't have any dead squash bugs in it, but I did find a dead squash bug.
     
    Deborah Rabon
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    I have used radishes grown with my cucs and squash for 2 yrs. I havent had any problems with squash bugs since. I am putting my new radish seeds with the cucs since the ones I planted with the cuc seeds are ready to be pulled up. I read this in a companion planting book.
    Thanks
    Deborah
     
    Judith Browning
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    Potato beetles are relatively easy if you use a straw or hay mulch...they can't climb it to reach the plants.
    I don't grow summer squash because of squash bugs and grow winter squash every few years. Sweet potatoes grow well here with fewer pests and I think more nutritious and also keep well.

     
    Josef Theisen
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    We have had major squash bug issues and lose our acorns and zucchinni after a meager harvest. We have tried radishes and row covers but still got wiped out. The delicata squash, though, seem to be very resistant and are a delicious vining winter squash.
     
    Frank Turrentine
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    There's a guy here in north Texas who has an organic gardening show on the radio every week, and he's had luck using leaves from his bay laurel trees, ground up and sprinkled around his squash plants. I don't know if there's any basis for believing that is what is working, but I'd like to have some bay trees anyway. I love cooking with the leaves, and they come mighty dear at the store. And I hate stores anyway.
     
    I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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