Something ate all the leaves off my Butternut Squash seedlings

kari_newgardener(9)September 6, 2010

I planted Waltham Butternut Squash seeds on August 15 and they sprouted even in the intense heat we had. They were doing great and then I got busy and wasn't out there for a few days to sprinkle the DE to keeps the ants away. In those days something had a feast on my squash seedlings leaves. They have almost been stripped bare. I planted more seeds, but the same thing may happen again. Any idea what it was and how to stop it? I sprinkled DE on the leaves of the plants (the ones that were left) yesterday and this morning the few plants that were left were almost bare so the DE wasn't stopping them. HELP!

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P.S. I am in Sugar Land, Texas if that helps figure out what the bug is. I thought it might be squash bugs but I didn't know if they eat the leaves? Also, I've seen some very small flying insect that is black with an almost irridescent green in the center that fly and land on the leaves. I don't think these are aphids because they don't look like the pictures of aphids that I've seen, but they might be. Could it be them?

This is my second attempt at a vegetable garden. I had to dig up the one in the summer because of a fire ant infestation so I'm a little upset since it looks like another failure here.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 12:01PM
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sam_mcgowan(Z9 TX)

I put out some Butternut Squash earlier in the year and they were doing great, then all of a sudden the fruit started wilting away and the plants withered and died. We got one fruit off of one plant. My guess is the heat does it since they are cool weather plants.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 3:56PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

It soundsThe squash that withered and died was done in by squash bores. A red wasp like moth lays eggs on the imature plant and then the babies crawl down to the base and bore into the plant and start eating, and eating in side the stem. If you look on the stem you might see frass coming out a hole. Make a lengthwise slit and search for that bugger. There are most likely more. I pile dirt on the damaged stems if I can. Sometimes I can win. Some times not. one can use row covers to keep the moths off the plants and spray with BHT(?) on a weekly regimen. Get the squash in early in the spring. Some people start them inside to get a crop before the moth gets going. Hubbard squash are more resistant than Butternut, I HEAR , don't know for sure.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 11:05PM
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