Need organic pesticide for squash and stink bugs

barberberryfarm(8A)January 14, 2012

I have a 122 pole outdoor "Hydrostacker" hydroponic garden which contains around 1300 plants. The last 2 years I was growing tomatoes and strawberries, but it gets too hot in central Alabama in the summer to produce quality strawberries so I'm switching completely to vegetables this coming season. I'd also like to switch to an organic pesticide, but it has to be strong enough to kill squash and stink bugs. Does anyone know of such a pesticide and where to get it?

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You can use Neem for many problems, but it is not as effective as the commercial chemicals.


    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 2:09PM
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Unfortunately, I've used Neem Oil for the past 2 years and it has had zero effect on the squash and stick bugs. It does a good job on the baby grasshoppers, though. That's why I've had to revert to using a tiny dose of Asana periodically. I like it because it nails them in their tracks with its residue becoming inert after it dries, which is good for my bee population as long as I spray in the evening.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2012 at 6:34PM
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try rotenone/pyrethrin for the stinkbugs.

nothing organic kills squash bugs in my experience. they are the spawn of satan.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 9:39AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Lol! They aren't the spawn of satan (I'm pretty sure...) but they are very difficult to treat with organic pesticides. I think that is due to their method of feeding compared with the common method of delivery of those chemicals. Generally, the chemicals work upon being ingested by the bugs, but squash bugs and stink bugs feed by sucking plant juices through their straw-like mouth tubes. So they totally bypass any poison just sitting on the leaves. And otherwise they are pretty well armored against the environment like most insects.

I was getting a little crazy trying to keep up with them last summer and came across the suggestion to use a dustbuster to suck them off the leaves and then dump them into a bucket of soapy water. I only tried that once before Irene hit and ruined the garden, but it seemed pretty effective and very satisfying once you get past feeling foolish about vaccuuming your garden...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 12:32PM
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I like the dustbuster idea!! I'll definitely give that a try.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 12:37PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

I tried the dust buster for stink bugs. Worked a bit but I had so many, that it was impossible. I tried all sorts of sprays last year for the little tiny kudzu stink bugs. Nothing much worked for them however they did not destroy any crops. Slowed a few but those few picked up after a few weeks and did just fine. They were so covered in those little stink bugs you could hardly see the plants! The leaf footed and other larger stink bugs I used a trap crop for. I read that pollinated sunflowers are great trap crops for them, and that surely worked. I planted them around the veggie garden and had no larger stink bugs in the garden sucking on plants! Bonus: these are the sunflowers perfect for feeding birds and yourself. At the end of the season I just brushed off and squashed the stink bugs and then dried the flower seed heads!
This year I'm attempting to inject spinosad for squash vine borer. I bought needles at the put supply and will attempt to keep stem area clear of bugs, but if (more like when) they get in, I will try zapping them with spinosad. You must inject about the time that they would be entering the plant, much earlier than when you typically seed damage to the plants.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 1:25PM
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nedweenie(z6 CT)

Squash bugs have a natural enemy in the tachinid fly. Plant buckwheat, and the flies will come to eat its nectar and they will lay their eggs on the squash bugs. When the fly egg hatches, the maggot drills into the squash bug, killing it. Not a cure all, but done over a few seasons with other non chemical methods (egg removal, hand to bug combat) populations will go down. Buckwheat is a good cover crop, just mow & till under. Seed is fairly cheap and easy to sow. Pretty too, when it's blooming~

After planting buckwheat patches near my squash for 3 seasons, I saw about 6 squash bugs last year, and had very few egg clusters to remove.

Squash bugs overwinter as adults in debris- so end of season clean up is key too, in controlling populations.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 7:44PM
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I'm not sure about rotenone as this is more of an ingested insecticide and may not be as effective on a piercing insect like squash bugs. I have had good luck in south Georgia spraying Pyrethrum about once a week for control. You really want to start before they become a problem. Be sure to find and spray the egg clusters that you commonly see on squash leaves. If you spray them before they hatch it should do them in. It is hard to control them in the south using other control methods because they are common in the environment and will come in from surrounding areas. They are especially troublesome on tomatoes and are one the the main reasons for failure of tomatoes in the south.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2012 at 8:17PM
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Thanks everyone for your thoughts!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 9:29AM
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I've heard of layiing a board on the ground near your garden to provide a haven for the adults to rest overnight. Then every morning just go squash the ones under it.
I can't swear to it as I've just about given up gardening. Two years running the deer have decimated my plants.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 10:20AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Insect barrier row covers work well and are easy to use with Hydro-Stackers.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 11:01AM
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I use the A-B control method, pick bug with finger a & b then squeeze, works with eggs too.
The SB move to my tomatoes when the heat gets the squash.
I like the Buckwheat Ideal, it is good for honey,too.
Even if you do not have bees, will not hurt to feed them.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 4:56PM
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Have you ever tried Safer products? i used them this year on the stink bugs that fed on my tomatoes and it worked. product was EndALL. pyrethrin, neem, and soap.

Since you are eating the produce, you really should be using something OMRI listed at least.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 11:23AM
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This info is on another thread as well, but thought I'd repeat it here:

planting garlic (or onions or leeks or chives) in each squash hill has worked well for me (fewer squash bugs on the years I used it, *by far.* No decimated plants, no lost squash.)

Also, one day (pre garlic) I got so mad at them, and I didn't have anything in the house in the way of control, so in a fit I squirted some Palmolive dish detergent (the green kind) into some water and went out and sprayed them. They ALL died within a few seconds--adults, babies, everybody. Of course, Palmolive might not be OMRI approved :) Haven't had to use that method recently since the garlic is working.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:05PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

What worked for me was waiting until the end of the season when all my squash bugs were massing on the few remaining green leaves and later on any remaining fruits. I then just smashed them with my feet. I believe that just about kept any adults from making it to the next season. How has it worked? Great! I may have seen 3 last year and they probably came from elsewhere.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:20PM
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Thanks again for all the great ideas! You all have given me some great ideas to try when the little rascals decide to show up this year!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2012 at 7:18AM
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