If you are a returning gardener to the Waite Park Community Garden you will probably already be aware that we have a squash bug problem. Squash bugs love zucchini, most winter squash, watermelon, and will even eat cucumbers. So if you are planning on growing any of these plants you may also soon be acquainted with squash bugs. Squash bugs can do a lot of damage, and they keep multiplying if unchecked. There are a few ways to deal with them.

The first way is to check the underside of squash leaves weekly for eggs and nymphs, and kill them. You can also eliminate adults by placing a board on the ground which they will hide under overnight and then squishing them. This method works, but is not for the faint of heart as it required a lot of bug squishing and killing.

Picture of squash bug eggs and baby squash bugs on the underside of a leaf.
Photo from U of M Extension Services

The second method is basically preventing the adult from infesting your plants in the first place. One way to do this is to use a row cover material to provide a physical barrier against infestation. This will need to be removed once the plant flowers so that pollination can happen. Another way to prevent squash bugs is by waiting to plant your squash until the squash bugs have moved past the egg laying/infesting part of their cycle. Start your squash plants at home in a pot (not too small they grow fast), and wait to transfer to the garden around mid June. I did this method last year and it worked beautifully until my neighboring garden pulled out their zucchini plant(probably sick of dealing with squash bugs). Then suddenly my plant had squash bugs all over it, luckily they did not do too much damage as it was late in the season.

Another preventative step is to not leave anywhere for them to overwinter in your garden, so get rid of all dead vegetation, especially infected squash plants.

To learn more about this topic read this uber informative article.

Article about Squash Bugs