As their name suggests, squash bugs strike summer and winter squash — from zucchinis to butternuts and pumpkins. They also damage others members of the same plant family, known as cucurbits, including cucumbers, cantaloupes and watermelons. Squash bugs are often mistaken for stink bugs, which share a similar shape, but squash bugs feed only on cucurbits. Both the adult and nymph stages of this pest damage plants. Two generations per season are common.
Identification: Squash bugs lay shiny, copper eggs that hatch into hungry, light green nymphs. Nymphs progress through several stages, maturing to gray-brown. Adult squash bugs measure about 5/8 inch long. Their dark, shield-shaped bodies sometimes have alternating gold and brown spots along their abdomen edges. Stink bugs are about the same length, but much broader.
Signs/Damage: Squash bugs tend to gather in large numbers and make their presence known. They damage cucurbit plants by piercing leaves, vines and fruits and sucking out plant juices. Vines collapse, leaves wilt and turn crisp, and plants die.
Control: Effective squash bug control targets all stages of this pest, while considering the insect pollinators squash need in order to bear fruit. GardenTech® brand offers highly effective options that kill squash bugs by contact and keep protecting plants for up to three months. Treat cucurbits with these products right up to one day before your harvest:
- Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Use simplifies treating individual plants and small garden areas. The adjustable nozzle lets you determine the width of your spray. Avoid spraying open blooms, which insect pollinators may visit. Cover other plant surfaces thoroughly, including the undersides of leaves.
- Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate is ideal for treating larger gardens and multiple plants. Used with a pump-style sprayer, you can control your coverage area and get the precision application you desire. Spray during evening hours, when insect pollinators are less active, and avoid spraying open blooms. Cover all other plant surfaces thoroughly, including the undersides of leaves.
Tip: Squash bugs hide under mulch during the growing season and through the winter months. Keep squash patches free from mulch and remove all garden debris.
Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully, including guidelines for pre-harvest intervals on edible crops.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc