squash vine borer

cncnorman(z7 FW/TX)August 5, 2005

oh no!!! i just found a red adult squash vine borer on my pumpkin vine. i've already pulled up half of my vine because i thought that someone had stepped on it causing it's decline but now that i've done some research i found out all that dusty stuff i saw was the result of this bug. i just saw the critter laying eggs on some leaves this morning. can someone please give me a suggestion how to keep these eggs from going on to tunnel in my plants?

thanks

christina

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countymounty(6-ish Tulsa, OK)

Christina

The only ways I know to combat SVBs are 1)to put row covers over your plants or 2)hand pick the eggs before they hatch. In your case it may be to late for row covers, but the adult moths will lay eggs all summer, so if there are parts of your pumpkin vines still un-damaged they won't be for long unless they get covered and/or you start picking. If you use row covers you will have to hand polinate. If you go with hand picking eggs you will develop a sore back and go blind or cross-eyed. This year I tried option 1) and next year I am trying option 2).

Actually hand picking the eggs was not that bad, I spent about 20 minutes each evening and have been able to keep 3 acorn squash vines (+/-20' long each) relatively free of SVBs. When I would miss an egg and it would hatch, I was able to catch it soon enough that there was very little damage to the plant. When one got inside a stalk I would kill the caterpillar by poking a piece of copper wire into the hole the caterpillar made. One problem with the SVB compared to other damaging caterpillars is that since the newly hatched worms immediately eat into the plant there is no oppertunity to get BT in contact with them. To me it looks like they bore straight from their egg casings into the stalk and once that happens the only way to get them is to use a wire or some other tool to get inside the stem and kill them. This in itself can cause damage or result in an entry point for other pests or disease. I have wondered (as I was hand picking SVB eggs) if it would work to inject a liquid mixture containing BT into the upper part of a leaf stalk and allow it to run down the inside. Then as as SVB worm ate into the stalk it would ingest the BT and the problem would be over. If a small syringe were used it would be less damaging that cutting and digging the worm out. Don't know how that would work on the runners and vines and you would still have to hand pick the leaves and smaller parts that were not hollow. Think I'll go price some row covers.

Matt

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 2:41PM
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cncnorman(z7 FW/TX)

Thanks Matt, I have some BTk available and diabetic syringes. i will try to inject a solution per the instructions ont he bottle and see if that helps

    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 5:07PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

If you have syringes, Stick the needle thru the stalk at about 1/2" increments from entry until it gets tough again

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 7:29PM
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cncnorman(z7 FW/TX)

Thanks Byron! So, stupid question should they normally be solid or hollow? I'm trying really hard to determine if all my vines are gonners or not. For some odd reason I have two punkins that turned a yellow orange color before ever turning white. The vine itself is still healthy from what I can tell but these punkins are odd looking. Do ya think I should cut these out?

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 6:16PM
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good_gardening1

The vines will be hollow between the leaf nodes.

They will be solid where the leaves are attached.

Injecting with Bt will kill the worms but is very time consuming and often frustrating too.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 2:00AM
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Kimmsr(4a/5b-MI)

In addition you can bury the vine beyond where the borer is and it may root and keep on keeping on.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 1:03PM
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vstech(z7 Charlotte)

yeah, I had HUGE pumpkin plants, SVB got em, but I got the worms and buried the vines, Presto! the vines are producing! Now of course, i have to keep my eyes peeled for more eggs. next year, I will be more attentive... maybe.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2005 at 8:55AM
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jomonjo(7)

Please try moth balls! 2 or 3 around each plant....seems to stop borers and bugs!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 8:04PM
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finnbiker(Z 5 PA)

I have lost zucchini plants to these in the past. This year, to combat the other pests like rabbits and maybe mice or whatever else, I have been spraying with a repellent recipe as follows:
1/2 c Murphy's Oil Soap
1/2 c lemon scented dishwashing liquid
1/2 c castor oil (actually only 1/4 cup--expensive!)
1/2 c lemon scented ammonia
1/2 c HOT pepper sauce
1/2 c urine
(diluted in water of course)

This seems to work well to keep stuff from getting eaten by most things-- the question is, would it kill the eggs of the borers or repel them?
thanks for input from you scientific-types.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 10:19PM
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hamiltongardener(CAN 6a)

Try growing butternut squash instead. SVB don't bother them. If they get to your pumpkins, at least you still have the butternut.

Besides, butternut squash tastes better than pumpkin anyway.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2007 at 11:22PM
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