Fighting Cucumber beatles and squash bugs

AbbeysDad(z5 CNY)June 28, 2005

I've been fighting cucumber beatles (and now squash bugs) in my zucchini and summer squash bed since I set the plants out. (They don't seem to bother the bush cucumber plants just two beds over - go figure).

I've been hand picking/killing, used rotenone and safers insecticidal soap but they keep coming. The zucchini is nearly gone (they seem to prefer it over the straight and crookneck summer squash). Last night after work, I noticed [LOTS OF] egg masses (redish orange - I'm guessing squash bug eggs) under the leaves so scraped/squashed all I could find.

Any other ideas to help?

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ksflowergirl(Z5 KS City area)

I wish there was a magic remedy--these bugs (especially the squash bugs) have been my nemesis for years. I've heard some say to plant late, so you avoid 1 generation. As for me, I've always had the best luck if I plant early and my plants are large and healthy when the bugs hit. They will always sustain damage and lose production, but they eventually come back and bear. This year, I'm trying a product from Gardens Alive called Pyola. It is supposed to have some success with young squash bugs. I've only seen two so far, but I started spraying early--before I saw any to try and keep them under control. Another recommendation I've seen is floating row covers; and if the Pyola doesn't work, I'll be trying them next year. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 11:36AM
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Floating row covers work, early on, but need to be removed for pollination. Some people report some success for Cucumber Beetles with heavy mulches which seems to keep Ma from laying eggs in the soil. Neem Oil products have also been reported to be good controls for these buggers. Rotenone is pretty potent stuff and probably should only be used as a last resort. Removing any egg masses you find is a good means of control. Check this link for more stuff.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Garden Pests, Squash bugs

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 1:10PM
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Try using a tea made from the hottest peppers you can find, strain it and add a little Ivory soap and put in spray bottle. Works for many kinds of insects, but may need to reapply as needed.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 2:47PM
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AbbeysDad(z5 CNY)

Thanks Kimmsr - especially for the link.

I did hold off on the rotenone until it looked like they were gonna devastate the plants. The poor zucchnis look so bad I'm not sure if they'll come back. Oh well, that's how it goes.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 4:07PM
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AbbeysDad(z5 CNY)

"Try using a tea made from the hottest peppers you can find, strain it and add a little Ivory soap"...

hmm...I wonder if some tobasco sauce mixed in with the safers (5 tbls/gal) would work as well? - I bet it would be nearly the same.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 4:10PM
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Spotted cuke beetles were all over my bean plants in a former garden. Every year. I just got in a routine of finding and smashing them. I even had an execution site.

I tried lots of different bean varieties and eventually discovered a white runner bean that grew beautifully and wasn't troubled much by the beetles.

Same thing happened with kale and tomatoes - I happened on a variety of each that grew relatively free of problems in my garden. The most pest-free tomato was an heirloom called Banana Legs - a yellow paste tomato shaped like a banana. The kale variety was True Siberian Kale - produced like mad and nothing chewed on it except us.

Of course, the next year I moved out of state so couldn't benefit further from the great discovery.

Experiment and you are likely to find the perfect varieties of squash, etc that are most resistant to those bugs. Also, as ksflowergirl points out, pay attention to when the bugs are at their worst, and see if you can time your planting to avoid that.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 4:19PM
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AbbeysDad(z5 CNY)

Organica - thanks and I think you're correct about varieties - for example, they are hitting the zucchini very bad, but the two varieties of yellow summer squash are almost untouched (well except for the egg masses from the squash bugs which I'm squashing!)

This is similar to years ago when I had a big problem with colorado potato beatles...then I happened on a variety (katahdin) that I guess just didn't attract them.

Similar is my experiance with corn last year. I planted a bicolor (Burpee Honey & Cream) sweet corn in a couple of beds and another variety (Burpee Early & Often) in a few others. The racoons hit the bicolor corn well before it was even ready (took every ear) and never touched the early and often. I'm guessing in this case just the sugary smell of the super sweet hybrid got their attention and the other corn, like field corn, just didn't.

All good reasons to experiment and either have a good memory or take good garden notes to find varieties that not only taste great, but also are hardy to weather and pests.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 12:47PM
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Hi AbbeysDad...Neptune's Harvest has a couple of garlic products that might do the job...or help. They hv a web site. Franklin

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 2:37PM
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Cucumber beetles always caused my squash and cukes to die. This year I bought seeds of a cuke that does not have to be pollinated. Most seed catalogues have a few varieties like this. I have covered the plants with summer weight row covers draped over some tomato cages. So far they look good. A few little cukes are growing now.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 5:53PM
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Your comment about the corn varieties is intriguing. Since I don't like supersweet corn, I could try growing some at the same time as my other corn, and maybe the critters will leave "my" corn alone!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 6:08PM
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cecilsgarden(z6 swPA)

Now, here's a thread I hated reading after planting my cucs and squash. I have alf a notion to yank em' out. Now, I'm depressed.

CECIL-at least I late planted

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 7:45PM
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vstech(z7 Charlotte)

Hey I have found that they LOVE pumpkins. and the plants GROW! so I ahve several pumpkin plants and they haven't touched my cukes or spagetti squash. also the pumpkin is a big target to find the bright orange buggers and remove them and squash them! good luck!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 9:42PM
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Rotate your crops, heavily mulch.

I try to interplant things to confuse the bugs. Try not to have one huge row of something.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 11:49AM
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I was looking for some information on a bug that is covering my better boy tomato. And the picture of the squash bug looks like the same bug. The thing about it is the tomato (and that is the only one. I also have early girl and park's whoppers in the same bed with no bugs on them) is covered up with those buggers and the cukes are not six feet from the tomato plant and there are no bugs on them. My squash either. Go figure. Thanks for the info. I will use some hot peppers and soapy water to spray the tomato plant. DH wanted to put sevin on them....You all probably heard my

I have lemon balm, I wonder if that would help also? It was suggested on the site that Kimmsr mentioned.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 7:28PM
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Southerngardengal-- do a garden web search for stink bugs and you may find a post that I written a while ago. I had what looked like squash bugs on my tomato plants last year but none on my squash--turns out they were "leaf footed bugs", a member of the "true bug" family. Between the stink bugs and the leaf footed bugs my tomatoes were horrible. Both of these bugs will suck all the juice from just under the skin of the tomato and leave you with spotted and odd looking fruit that will not be suitable for canning (changes the pH or something).

They are the DEVIL!! Don't bother with all of the nicey nice stuff (soaps, garlic etc) they don't work. Get some liquid rotenone/pyrethrin- that worked somewhat. What I ended up doing mostly was going into the plants with scissors and cutting up any of the ones I could find. If they come back this year I am going to try dusting the plants with DE. They are both clumsy bugs and fall off of leaves pretty easily so if you go in there with a cup of soapy water make it a small cup so you don't knock them all into lower leaves by accident.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 3:19PM
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Thank you Iamtoobusy. They are beginning to get on the other tomato plants. I saw some on my park's whopper. I will see if DH will run to the county coop and get something for them in the morning. They are in colonies...looks like ten or fifteen on one tomato plant. We don't can tomatoes but we do live on tomato sandwiches in the summer....LOL

Thank you again for the info.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 9:23PM
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This year I've had pretty good luck with reducing squash bug damage by religiously using insecticidal soap which kills the fresh hatched bugs (nymphs?) and removing the parts of the leaves with eggs. I might miss a few eggs but then I get the hatchees with the soap spray.

Last year I had a bad infestation and I tried the pyrethrin/rotenone spray, but it just caused the spider mites to go crazy and then I had to use soap spray.

I physically remove and drown the grown up squash bugs (they can swim for quite a little while and climb out of the container, so keep an eye on them until dead). But, so far this year I haven't had to kill any adults.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2005 at 9:57PM
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southerngardengal, how is you park's whopper? i tried that this year, but i must have bought a diseased plant. it never grew and just kept looking worse. leaves became all brown and just all together funky! it remained under a foot tall and no new growth. i finally burned it so my beefsteak would not succumb. the beefsteak was growing wonderfully and still is. i am disappointed b/c i wanted to try another huge tomato!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 6:03PM
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Unless you have enough room to have a 300 foot seperation between beds "rotating" your crops will do little to prevent pests that overwinter in the soil from finding them in the new bed and even that is questionable. Mulching, which can keep the larva from reaching the soil, or in the spring can confuse the larva enough that they don't reach the surface will help.
Stink Bugs as well as many other plants pests are listed at Our Garden Pests.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our Garden Pests

    Bookmark   July 25, 2005 at 7:36PM
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I saw squash bugs on my corn plants upon inspecting them after dark with a flashlight. They'd just been watered and the bugs were everywhere. I looked all on the internet but couldn't find a solution. I grabbed a disposable grill lighter and s flash light and burned them one by one as they sat on the corn plants. It was kind of fun.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 1:17AM
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Someone I know fences up that part of their garden and puts chickens in there. That's about their favorite food and they're not as fond of the plants. When the bugs are gone, take the chickens out or they will eventually turn on the veggies for food. The terrific source of complete protein makes the eggs come out really good too I'd bet.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 1:34PM
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(1)Mix 1.5ml of liquid sevin with one gallon of water,(2) poor 5 ounces into as many 20oz glass bottles(must be glass) as you have squash plants( and others in the squash family),(3) mix in three table spoons of clove oil,(4) lie the bottles at an angle by pressing them into the soil so that the liquid poison will not spill into your organic garden!! Wah-la!! You have the benefit of chemical poison without compromising your organic style! I would suggest picking the bottles up when heavy rain is on the way to avoid overflow and spillage! Hopefully this will help out in your fight against these evil little bugs!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 8:42PM
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Sexy: what you wrote is a gardening version of homeopathy.

1.5ml of Sevin per one gallon (nearly 4 liters) equals extremely low and ineffective concentration of the active chemical even if you used the most concentrated version of Sevin (vs the more common, ready to use diluted version).

You may as well pray for the bugs to die.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 3:25PM
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I've got two remedies that seem to work pretty well. I dab some Elmer's glue on the eggs -- it does leave a spot, but it's non-toxic and may do less damage than rubbing them off. If you get a small bottle, you can really target it right onto the eggs. The second is diatomaceous earth. If you find bugs, go out with a shaker full of the stuff and let em' have it. Underside leaves, on the stems everywhere. I love this stuff because it's not poisonous. It suffocates the little suckers if you get enough on.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 1:31PM
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