As their name suggests, squash bugs strike summer and winter squash — from zucchinis to butternuts and pumpkins. They also damage other members of the same plant family, known as cucurbits, which includes 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.
Squash Bug 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 or Damage of Squash Bugs
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.
How to Control Squash Bugs
Effective squash bug control targets all stages of this pest while considering the insect pollinators that squash need in order to bear fruit. Treat squash during evening hours when insect pollinators are less active, and avoid treating open blooms. GardenTech brand offers highly effective options that kill squash bugs and help protect your harvest:
- Sevin Insect Killer Dust Ready to Use starts killing squash bugs immediately upon contact. Use the convenient shaker container to apply a thin uniform layer of dust to upper and lower sides of leaves and stems as soon as squash bugs or their damage appears.
- Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate is ideal for treating larger gardens and multiple plants. Used with a pump-style sprayer, you can control your coverage and treat with precision. Cover leaf and stem surfaces thoroughly, including the undersides of leaves. This product kills by contact and keeps protecting against squash bugs for up to three months.
Squash Bug Control 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 thoroughly and follow instructions, including guidelines for listed plants and pests, application frequency and pre-harvest intervals (PHI) for edible crops.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.
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