If I don't grow squash for a year...........

catherinet(5 IN)August 13, 2013

Would that get rid of my squash bugs? I just can't seem to grow zuchinni or butternut squash anymore because of the number of squash bugs. I don't use chemicals. Just wondering if I skipped a year, if they would go elsewhere........or would they just lie in wait?

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I've tried that, and they seem to survive and return as if nothing had been done at all. What does seem to help is to till your garden a couple of times during the winter. I suppose it kills the larva and eggs by exposing them to winter temperatures and predators.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 10:21AM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Thanks George! I'll give that a try.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 7:24PM
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Catherinet, how about giving some row covers a shot. I use tulle netting. Right now I have a bunch of yellow crookneck and pattypan squash growing under the covers. I had to cover them due to the hoards of ravenous SVB, cucumber bettles, and squash bugs in my garden. :(

but it works. The pants are big nice and healthy now. They only have male flowers note but when they get females I'll have to hand pollinate. That is the only drawback.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 10:44PM
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Next year I need to try that. I even purchased the materials do try a row cover and didn't get around to doing it. But here it's getting to be that success with these kinds of squash, without some sort of special protection, is the exception, not the rule. Thanks for the reminder!


    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 7:07AM
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The only problem with row covers is that the squash bugs once you have had them are in the soil so when you put the cover on they are locked in with the plant.
I have had terrible trouble with squash bugs the last 3 years....thousands of them. This year I have none. I really do not know what I did but I did do many things including tilling in winter. I always kill all squash bugs immediately on site using a water and Dawn soap concoction that seems to kill them in minutes. I use a gallon sprayer with water then about 1-2 T. soap. Collect and destroy as many eggs a possible, I use duct tape to collect, at times I have scorched with a grill lighter. At end of season leave one vine and undesirable fruit out as a trap. They will all keep coming there, then you spray them with the soap water. Keep doing this until they quit coming. Burn all old vines, do not compost them. Bugs hide in the dead dried up leaves. This winter I did til several times just before frosts hoping do turn any up and freeze them out. Lastly and this was not my plan, I planted very late this year due to May 2 blizzard and cool wet temps. In my area I usually plant May 10-15. This year I ended up planting June 6th and all of those seeds did not germinate because of cool temps and wet soil. My planing that finally produced was on June 15th. 1 month later than normal. I believe any Squash Bugs still left in soil had came up, saw there were no plants to be had and went on their way. I saw One Squash Bug on the garage and one in the garden. I killed both immediately. Was surprised but never saw any eggs looking very diligently even still today. Now the SVB that is another story! Hate those squash bugs!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:11AM
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To address the potential problem of pests getting trapped with the plants under the covers, I first started with small "teepees" of tulle over each plant when they were small seedlings. When I put my seedlings in the ground, I carefully cleaned out the area, to remove any pests, and put in some new dirt. As the plants got bigger, then I had to remove the small "teepees" and put in a bigger cover over all of them. When I did that, a few days later I did see a squash bug, but it was trying to get out of the netting, so I killed it. (crushed it with my fingers... I'm not scared of their smell :) )
I think if bugs are trapped underneath, they will probably be seen as they are trying to escape the netting so they are sitting ducks.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:21PM
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Here is a picture from today, with my yellow crookneck and patty pan squash that I have under tulle. They are doing great. A few days ago a bunch of male flowers opened up. And today I saw a few tiny female yellow squash,and a few tiny female patty pans forming. So in a few days I'll have to lift the cover and hand-pollinate early in the morning, and the put the covers back on. I'll keep that routine going as long as its practical... sure beats having to hand pick SVB eggs and inject vines with BT to keep the SVBs at bay.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 12:00AM
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ccabal, in what form to you get you BT, is it sold just as BT or is it a chemical in a commercial product. Just been looking on occasion in stores and find nothing with the BT.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 1:53AM
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I got mine at Lowes. It's a small bottle, called "Thuricide" and it's a concentrate. I mix it about 1/8 teaspoon per cup. Then I inject the solution.

As an update, today I finally took off the tulle. The plants had gotten way to big, and I could not keep the covers on anymore. I had done a lot of hand pollination. We've already harvested about 10 nice yellow crookneck and 5 of the patty pans.

As I uncovered then I piled dirt and then mulch at the base of the plants to protect them against SVB laying on their bases.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 9:27PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

So much for my plan to till the ground there several times this winter, as George had suggested. We've had at least a foot of snow over the entire garden all winter long. We had below zero temps for awhile, which I had hoped would kill off some of the larvae............but with that snow cover, they are probably down there all nice and cozy. If it ever quits snowing, and if the ground ever dries after the big melt........is it helpful just to till it several times before planting? I wonder if mice and birds would eat larvae close to the surface?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:10AM
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