Battle plan for squash vine borer - will it work??

dancinglemons(7B VA)August 20, 2008

Hello all,

I lost a beautiful watermelon plant to vine borer and have come up with a plan for next time. What do you guys think - will this work??

Cover the plant area with Remay (row cover) until plants are about to run. Put masking tape around the base of the plant stem where it comes out of the dirt?? When the vines begin to run dust heavily with Bacillus thuringiensis??

Anyone know if trellis the vines keeps that *&^% vine borer out of the stems?? I am thinking of using a trellis to keep the vines off the ground.

What do you guys think?? Any tricks to defeat the vine borer??


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The trellis question is interesting to me too. I know that if you do get SVB, that having the plant close to the ground so that it can re-root itself along the vine helps to keep the plant from completely dying, but I don't know if keeping it off of the ground to begin with prevents the SVB to begin with.

My gut instinct says it won't help though, since the insect that lays the eggs on the squash vines to begin with is a moth. The eggs hatch, and the larvae from those eggs are what burrow into the plant.

This was my first year running into trouble with SVB (only been planting squash for 2 years... last year just got powdery mildew), and what I did was buy bacillus thuringiensis in liquid form, and a turkey marinade injector (looks like a giant shot), and injected some diluted solution into my vines where I saw damage from SVB. It seemed to keep them at bay in my summer squash bushes but I did have trouble handling them in my winter squash vines, as those travel so much that they were just too much for me! I used the dust more on those plants. That seemed to help, I suppose, as did the re-rooting, as the SVB seems to have stopped doing additional damage (now just on to powdery mildew).

Any other advice, and information on the trellis question would be awesome. I hate those things -- I lost a bunch of spaghetti squash that had started ripening. The SVB had made it inside of the vegetable before it started to fully ripen. :(


    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:47AM
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shebear(z8 NCentralTex)

I have found that the adult moth sits on the plant early in the morning and late in the evening. I've killed a few then using a pair of scissors.........cut those babies in half.

I'm not sure it's helped alot but it feels good.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:51PM
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I'm with you. My pumpkin plants are hanging in there. I found some helpful hints from Garden Alive. The row cover is not helpful for me since I have to plant pumpkins at the same spot, I don't want to moths emerge inside the row cover and the cover has to remove when the day-time temp over 80 degrees. The moths still around until 4th of July. Might be an insect barrier.
Here is the link
I'm wondering is how to lay aluminum foil on the ground underneath the stem?
You might interest in this as well.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 11:16PM
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If you lost a watermelon plant, it was probably to something other than the SVB. I grow lots of watermelons and I have lots of SVB attack summer squash, but never had one attack a watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew. For squash row covers should work, if you do not leave mulch or debris on the soil over winter. Tillage if you get any ground freeze will take care of the overwintering ones.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2008 at 10:28AM
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