I had been noticing that squash would start forming on the plant, but then most of them would sort of shrivel up and die before they got very big at all, so I knew something was wrong but I just didn’t know what. Then a few days ago while I was weeding, I found a bug. I was pretty sure it was a squash bug, but wanted to be certain. I threw it in a bowl of water and it didn’t take long at all for him to stop swimming and sink to the bottom. As I continued my garden work, I began noticing some small, brown eggs on the underside of quite a few squash leaves. In all, I found about 12 leaves, each with ten to twenty eggs. I cut the leaves off the plant; but looking back on it, I think next time I’ll try to save the leaves. I finished my garden work and carried the bug inside with me. I image-googled “squash bug,” and found several good photos that proved my theory.
The best information I found was here and here, but I’ll try and summarize for you. Squash bugs suck vital nutrients from the leaves and stems of squash plants, eventually starving and killing the whole plant. If you notice some small, dead or yellowing areas on the leaves of your squash plant, this could be a sign of an infestation. The most effective way to get rid of adult bugs and nymphs is to hand-pick them off your plants. However, ideally you should keep an eye on your plants, looking for eggs on the undersides of leaves, and kill the eggs before they have a chance to hatch. The eggs hatch within one to two weeks. When the eggs are first laid, they are a light tan color. They darken with age. The eggs I found on my plants were a fairly dark brown, so I may have caught them just in time. I looked for information about ways to kill them, and the most oft-repeated tactic was to simply squish them, which I did. Appropriate for a “squash” bug, I suppose!
|Squash bug eggs|
Incidentally, that first bug I carried inside with me to identify on the computer? I had laid it on a piece of paper towel on my desk. I happened to glance over at it a few minutes after setting it down, and I didn’t see the bug. I picked up the paper towel, and there he was, hanging on the bottom side, alive as could be. I guess these bugs can play possum! Hmmm, maybe I didn’t flood them all out, then. Only time will tell.