reflections on the squash bug
I have been enjoying my 4" long trombetta and fat round tatuma squash this year. Their vines grew long and survived the polite deer attacks. Polite deer are deer who close the garden door after they leave but decimate the greens. Oh yes, I am talking squash bug not deer problems. I do love to bemoan the deer but I am trying to talk about my experience with the small but prolific little creepy crawler, Anasa tristis.
I am basically a lazy gardener that thrives on hoping the bugs don't notice my garden and my reactive choice of resistant varieties will win the day. I saw a "V" shaped cluster of eggs on a Lambs quarter aand I thought squash bugs, why here? I didn't even look on the squash plant that was all over the place like a sea monster growing over tomatoes and crossing paths and engulfing eggplants.
Well, let me cut to the chaise. About the time I got new glasses with progressive lenses and took a break from my commission, I discovered a rampant out of control outbreak of pro life squash bugs not using any form of birth control. Leaves were shriveling drying into dust. You get the picture. It was bad, Real bad. The plant was a ghost of its old self.
I got my neem oil and soap out...Nada. The rainstorm blew my squash cage over and , OH GOD, the bugs the new angle showed to the light of day was heart stopping. Bugs ontop of bugs ontop of bugs. I treated them again. These bugs were hanging all over the dead leaves but leaving most of the live leaves alone. What is that about?
Anyway,I remembered that my girlfriend likes to go out to the garden with her cup of suddsy water and pick off tbuggers she deams non simpathetic and drown thems. I was overwhelmed at the ensueing task so I picked the furthest out squash tentical of the humongous plant and started working in to the mega population center..
Here are some observations. Take in mind, my squash is a trellised vine. Most of the eggs that are laid on green leaves in neat little rows in the V shaped veins of the leaves underside. Most of these were leaves close to the ground. I found Way more bugs on the dead leaves than on the live leaves. I am still wondering about that. I did find newly laid egs on dried up dusty leaves hanging above. I ended up picking all the dead leaves one at a time and shaking the bugs into my cup of sudsy water, and drowning the many bugs,.They kept not cooperating and jumping off the leaf before I could get it to theBUCKET OF DEATH and, once in, climbing on other bugs to get out.
Remind me, Why do I like gardening? I guess this is the reason that one needs to clean your garden ROUTINELY. Why do I insist on learning things the hard way. I am a natural shlep. I have almost a colander full of dead wet bugs and a sunburn on my shoulders but I sure do like my new glasses. I can see so much better but I just have to like what I see.
The good thing is that these bugs don't bite but that doesn't stop the nonstop psychosomatic itching and the YUCK FACTOR from creeping you out. I kept waiting for me to start enjoying it. NOT.. Also the buggers insides or bugs excrete a substance when messed with that stains anything it touches a a deep sepia orange, you know, that UT orange. It does not seem to wash off immediately. I have a party to go to tonight Figures.
Ok , That is how I am getting rid of squash bugs , organically. Does anyone out there have a better way. I am all ears.