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Squash bugs kill all my squash. Natural controls?

 
                
Posts: 18
Location: Texas
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I have a battle on my hands to keep my sqaush plants.  The stink bugs come every year and kill everything.  At this point Im so steaming mad at them I would almost rather poison everything to death than  let them live.

Is there ANY natural control for these things?

I heard of planting sunflowers and buckwheat with large yellow pipes to attract/bait them and using sticky traps to capture them.  However, the sunflowers are not yet yellow..
 
Fred Morgan
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Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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I have read somewhere that putting aluminum foil underneath the plant as mulch might help. The reflection confuses the bugs. Not sure if it is a good idea or if you should try it.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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we had the same problem last year, then one day the lizards came. a week later not a single squash bug was found even if you looked, where as before you could see them everywhere.
 
Emil Spoerri
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you have to go to war with them. They lay their eggs in little triangle patterns, the eggs are orange and there is usually about 20 of them, often on the underside of leaves.
The larva are blue with black legs and travel in "herds".

Squash them all relentlessly. Don't give up. Plant a trap crop of early summer squash, which you pick more often and are therefore able to enforce the embargo better.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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I had this same problem. I did note that early on when I had flax and buckwheat growing I had no pest problems apart from the early flea beetles, those were distracted by the mustard and radish I planted. As soon as I cut down the flax and buckwheat I started seeing the squash bug, unfortunately it was too late they devoured the plants. If you do see the eggs and bugs use a long handled wind resistant lighter (for lighting grills) and just burn those suckers. Getting the eggs off of the plant leaves is very difficult without damaging the leaves, burning is better. It worked like a charm on the potato beetles I had.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i've never had them before this year but we did have them this year..the birds helped to keep their numbers down when i would move the bird feeders over areas where i saw them..however..there were too many and they killed most of my pumpkins.

i am very pleased to hear that lizards miight help..as we have lizards in our bark areas of the garden mulch..so i'll work on spreading lizard cover around my garden to encourage more lizards...for next year.

the bark will be spread around where we saw the bugs this year to help encourage lizards for next season..i know the lizards like the bark mulch piles..i think they also like rock piles and branches..so i'll plan on setting up a few of those as well.

i know that biological controls are more important to me than sprays..so i'll keep working on what will work biologically
 
Rob Sigg
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Location: PA-Zone 6
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Maybe it is too early for me since we just moved into a brand new lot/house, because I do have mulch piles (tons) and a small pond with 5-6 green frogs, so the lizards can't be that far away I would hope.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i am beginning now to see a lot of the soldier bugs, i guess they kill the squash bugs, so that is a good thing..when i picked tomatoes i accidentally brought a soldier bug into the house and even my husband with his head injury realized it was a "good bug" and carefully carried it back outdoors (bless his heart) to let it go on killing bad bugs.

so there are predators out there after the bad guys..just a matter of being patient and waitinig for their numbers to get big enough to kill off the bad guys.

no sprays

next year the good  guys should be well ahead of the bad guys and maybe i'll dare plant pumpkinis agian.
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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These guys have been killing everything squash in my garden this year too including my pumpkin vines. put some garlic cloves next to them (will see if those come up or not) and sprayed this the other day (which I found at http://heirloomacresseeds.com/CatalogPrd.asp?prm=100 )

Homemade Organic Insecticidal Spray

This all-purpose insecticidal soap spray is very effective. Be sure to do a test spray on some hidden leaves first, to make sure your plant is not too sensitive.
3 cloves garlic, finely crushed
• 1 T. vegetable oil
• 3 T. Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
• 4 cups water
• 1 t. plain liquid dishwashing soap
Combine the crushed garlic, cooking oil and hot sauce and let stand overnight. Strain and add the water. Add the dishwashing soap and stir gently. Pour into a hand sprayer and spray the tops and especially the undersides of the leaves weekly.

It encouraged most of them to leave the plants, but did not kill them. I have drowned some in soapy water, squashed some with my fingers (not sure toxicity, but can stain the fingers), cut some with the pruners, speared others with twigs, and fed some to the friendly spider, though she was not thrilled when I gave her 2 dozen at the same time. I have multiple hundreds of them

I have noticed overtime, that bugs tend to find easy pickings. In time, pest move in to eat your plants, then predators move in to eat the pests.

We have plenty of lizards and other reptiles around. Guess I need to encourage them to eat a few stinkers. Hope I am not killing any soldier bugs. Looked at some pictures of them, but not sure what they look like as younger bugs.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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Brenda Groth wrote:
i am beginning now to see a lot of the soldier bugs, i guess they kill the squash bugs, so that is a good thing..


Brenda, can you send photos?  I am struggling to identify the good guys and the bad guys.
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4434
Location: North Central Michigan
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i don't have photos but you can find them on the bug i d sites on line..they have good photos on the online sites..just do a soldier bug search
 
                              
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Dr_Temp wrote:
These guys have been killing everything squash in my garden this year too including my pumpkin vines. put some garlic cloves next to them (will see if those come up or not) and sprayed this the other day (which I found at http://heirloomacresseeds.com/CatalogPrd.asp?prm=100 )

Homemade Organic Insecticidal Spray

This all-purpose insecticidal soap spray is very effective. Be sure to do a test spray on some hidden leaves first, to make sure your plant is not too sensitive.
3 cloves garlic, finely crushed
• 1 T. vegetable oil
• 3 T. Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
• 4 cups water
• 1 t. plain liquid dishwashing soap
Combine the crushed garlic, cooking oil and hot sauce and let stand overnight. Strain and add the water. Add the dishwashing soap and stir gently. Pour into a hand sprayer and spray the tops and especially the undersides of the leaves weekly.

It encouraged most of them to leave the plants, but did not kill them. I have drowned some in soapy water, squashed some with my fingers (not sure toxicity, but can stain the fingers), cut some with the pruners, speared others with twigs, and fed some to the friendly spider, though she was not thrilled when I gave her 2 dozen at the same time. I have multiple hundreds of them

I have noticed overtime, that bugs tend to find easy pickings. In time, pest move in to eat your plants, then predators move in to eat the pests.

We have plenty of lizards and other reptiles around. Guess I need to encourage them to eat a few stinkers. Hope I am not killing any soldier bugs. Looked at some pictures of them, but not sure what they look like as younger bugs.


Dont use insecticidal soap /w oil when it's over 90 degrees and humid.  It'll kill your plants.  Also, if youre in a hot humid area you need to wash the insecticidal soap off your plants after an hour or so.  I wish I had seen people give this warning when I was first looking at making my own insecticidal soap...  I killed a bunch of plants.  Also, make sure your dishwashing soap is SOAP and not DETERGENT.  Dr. Bronners is castile soap (soap made from olive oil). 
 
              
Posts: 238
Location: swampland virginia
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stalk_of_fennel wrote:
Dont use insecticidal soap /w oil when it's over 90 degrees and humid.  It'll kill your plants.  Also, if youre in a hot humid area you need to wash the insecticidal soap off your plants after an hour or so.  I wish I had seen people give this warning when I was first looking at making my own insecticidal soap...  I killed a bunch of plants.  Also, make sure your dishwashing soap is SOAP and not DETERGENT.  Dr. Bronners is castile soap (soap made from olive oil). 


Appreciate the info. Had not thought about it much. Figured the bugs were bad enough that anything would be better than nothing. Everything you said makes sense. I might have killed one or two the other day, but the bugs are killing them them either way. been a rough season for me, but not bad considering I didn't get much in till the end of june and been in and out of town.
 
Renate Howard
pollinator
Posts: 755
Location: zone 6b
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I don't know if this is what is working or not but I've got a volunteer pumpkin in the yard and the bantam chickens give it a very thorough going-over every few days and I don't see any bugs on it at all. Chickens will eat stinkbugs.
 
Jennifer Smith
Posts: 714
Location: Zone 5
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I used a small shop vac then fed them to my chickens before I let them out for the day. Felt good!
 
Ed Waters
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Here are a couple of things that we have tried, and it seems to be working:

Only grew moschata variety squash. The main vine seems to be way too tough for the VB to get into.

Dumped our leftover soil from our radish micro greens around the plants. Radish is supposed to keep them away.

Wrapped the first 6 inches of our cucumber plants with aluminum foil.

To date we have only lost a couple of Lebanese Marrows that we had growing in pots. Everything else is doing very well. Between the squash and cukes we must have 60 plants growing. The most vigorous is a variety called Long Island Cheese that we have in a first year hugel bed.
 
David Williams
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identify pests, then identify their predators , no predators use diatomatious earth (DE) and try a neem / orange oil/ detergent mix spray... use youtube as a rescource..... GL (will kill indescriminately)
Peace and Love Dave oxoxox
Good and Bad bug guide
 
Elissa Teal
Posts: 128
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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Renate Haeckler wrote:I don't know if this is what is working or not but I've got a volunteer pumpkin in the yard and the bantam chickens give it a very thorough going-over every few days and I don't see any bugs on it at all. Chickens will eat stinkbugs.


Thanks for the tip. I'll have to try that. We have stink bugs that overwinter in our house. I'm now going to start collecting them and putting them in the chicken coop.
 
Elissa Teal
Posts: 128
Location: Detroit, Michigan
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David Williams wrote:identify pests, then identify their predators , no predators use diatomatious earth (DE) and try a neem / orange oil/ detergent mix spray... use youtube as a rescource..... GL (will kill indescriminately)
Peace and Love Dave oxoxox
Good and Bad bug guide


Muchas gracias!!! What a great reference!
 
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