Tonight I noticed a lot of gray, flat bugs on my squash. What are they and what can I do to eliminate them? Thanks!
The presence of insects may or may not be something to be concerned about and the identification of them is necessary to know if these may be beneficial insects, innocuous insects, or pests. Squash bugs most usually are brown/black rather than greyish in color (although the nymphs can be grey), shield shaped, and appear similar to many other insects. If they are doing damage to plants, then you do need to consider doing something to control them and the first step in control is to grow strong, healthy plants that are less attractive to these wee buggers. Interplant plants that attract predators of these wee buggers, or plants that are trap crops for them. Since they are already on your plants using floating row covers will do no good, although if you know thay will appear they should be used. If these do prove to be Squash Bugs most often you will see that you need to clean up the garden in the fall to eliminate potential overwintering sites for them, keep in mind that that same cleanup will also eliminate potential overwintering sites for beneficial insects as well.
If control is needed an insecticidal soap spray, although quite broad spectrum, is the first spray that should be used and if that is not effective you can move up the toxic ladder to Neem Oil and/or pyrethrins, as a last resort.
sounds like squash bugs, and they will take over your squash plants and kill them if not taken care of. I had these on year and just ruined my crop. I found something that is organic and works great. NEEM oil. Mix two table spoons in two gallons of warm water and one drop of liquid soap. then spray spray spray. tops and bottoms of leaves. the whole plant.
the best way to find these early is to look under the leaf before they hatch, you will see the eggs in a clump. just scrape them off. The neem oil will not kill them right away but it will stop them from feeding, saving your plants.then they will die from not feeding. so dont be allarmed if you still see the bugs after spraying.
hope this helps
I am pretty sure these are not beneficial bugs - some of the acorn squash that was looking very good a week ago is now all shriveled up. I will try the vacuum method first, then I guess the neem oil. Thanks for everyone's response.
Here is a great link, on squash bugs. With pictures!! lol
Hope this helps.
Here is a link that might be useful: Squash Bug and Squash Vine
Thanks, Sudzy. Thats a great article. I went to a store today that sells organic supplies, and the guy there told me not to use neem oil this late in the season because of the hot days. So... he talked me into buying garlic spray. But, I think I will return it. It sounds to me at this stage, I just need to start picking the darn things off. Grrrr!
"the guy there told me not to use neem oil this late in the season because of the hot days."
That is some bad information I'm afraid. There are very few things, Insecticidal Soap among them, that should be sprayed on plants when it is hot, but you can, with due care, spray them early in the day or in the evening. but you would not want to spray plants when the temperatures will exceed 80 withing a short period of time after spraying. Very often, to get the target insects I will be out at 6:00am to spray, while the target insects are still too sluggish to move much and so what I spray has a chance to dry before the heat can do harm to the plants.
you might want to make your own garlic spray. Here's an article that tells how.
Here is a link that might be useful: Garlic Spray
The best was to control organically is to kill the bugs manually (I use a metal pole to smash them) and look underneath the leaves for eggs - very small light born eggs and remove the affected leaves.
Here is a link that might be useful: What do I do about squash bugs?
In reading the posts on this Forum I get the impression you folks are all retired with a lot of time to hand pick bugs/insects. Or you have very small gardens. :-) Here we have the SVBs and hand picking isn't an option. In larger gardens like mine, row covers are too costly. So far only planting summer squash later in the season works.
Well, I am not retired and have a pretty large garden. I ended up putting 6 of my little 2 month old chickens in the garden and the squash bugs were gone within a couple of days. I don't let the old hens in the garden because they love squash and would have devoured the squash along with the bugs, but the youngs chicks only ate the bugs. Planting late in the season is not an option where I live as we could have frost by September.
I give my boys a spray bottle with soapy water. Just water with a squirt of dish soap. I give them strict instructions not to spray the leaves. They love going on bug hunts lifting each squash plant and zapping the bugs with soapy water. Works great and kills the bugs dead within a few seconds. No pesticides required.
I used the soapy water on the squash/stink bugs. It took a while for the adults to die(you've got to hit them on the underbelly), but the nymphs died almost immediately. I'll look tomorrow to see what, if any, effect on the leaves that I hit
I had one adult and a few juvenile squash bugs two weeks ago. Last year they were really bad. I dusted with diamectaceous earth this year and so far I seem to have stalled the problem. Make sure to pick any eggs off the undersides of leaves and catch any bugs that you can.
I can't believe I didn't see this remedy anywhere. I do believe it may have killed off all the little juveniles. I have not seen a single egg cluster or bug since I dusted!