Squash Bug Rash

scarletdaisies(6)June 24, 2011

I finally found some squash bugs on my squash plants this year, last year was a total bust because of them, but so far they are starting very slow due to new area. I have also gotten so aggravated with them, when I see them on the plant, I put my fingers so I can smash them against the vine and they can't run, very productive compared to chasing them, but now I am broke out into what I thought was poison ivy/oak/sumac/or virginia creeper. I had a small amount of it, now it's uncontrollable.

I've read squash bugs on the eastern coast cause skin rashes if it contacts the skin, I'm in Middle Tennessee, do these squash bugs cause rashes? I'm really being eaten up by this rash on my hands and it's spreading. It's just like a poison oak rash, but it's getting worse each day since I started smashing the bugs and eggs on my hands, I know that is gross, but I'm not abidextrous (mispelled I'm sure) at handling a bowl of soapy water and picking eggs at the same time. I literally have been smashing them between my fingers or on my palms being desperate to get rid of them quick before I have an infestation. Are these bugs causing my rash?

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Ugh - sorry to hear this - I don't know the answer to your question about the rash. Jewelweed seems to help some folks with poison ivy rash - perhaps it's worth a try? I so sympathize as I get rashes from poison ivy almost if I just look at it. And bug bites cause no end of misery for me. I live on Benadryl and or Zyrtec some summers...

Feel better - hope you get an answer!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 4:38PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

The first thing you need to do is STOP SQUASHING THEM WITH YOUR BARE HANDS! Get a box of those thin latex or nitrile gloves.

See a doctor if you can.

I don't know what squash bug juice contains, but stink bugs contain cyanide (see link below).

A friend's doctor told him for his rash (poison oak), to soak in warm (not hot) water with a good dose of regular baking soda mixed in.

If you're not allergic to cortisone, maybe an over-the-counter cream of hydrocortise would help.

But if simple remedies don't help, see a doctor, even if you have to contact the county for medical help. Don't let it get so bad that you need skin grafts!

Good luck!


Here is a link that might be useful: Stink bugs & cyanide

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 4:40PM
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i have likely smashed a hundred thousand squash bugs over the years with no ill effects to myself. the squash plants themselves on the other hand make my arms itch like crazy.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 4:50PM
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I'm immune to all the typical itchy plants, but all the Cucurbitaceae will give me the itches and if prolonged, a rash.

A box of 100 nitrile gloves is about $3 and you can reuse them until you wear holes in them. :)

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 6:04PM
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Dan Staley

Some people are sensitive to these and similar bugs. It is a defense mechanism.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 7:29PM
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Try using a small pan with a stick in the other hand hit the bug into the a very soapy mixture with water and soap. Collect all the bugs you can a dispose.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 7:46PM
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I bought some gold bond anti inch stuff,it's working, but really stubborn. I will wear gloves, but they are always lost when I go to find them. As far as the latex gloves, they rip easy, but still usefull. I just now got more squash bug eggs, went searching and used a rock to squash them lightly on the stem, knocked them to the ground and killed them. It's been so rainy, they just now on this nice warm day came back. I imagine during the hotter days they will be impossible to keep up with. I always lose control when they move to the cucumber vines. They usually get big, although this is an unusually bad year, so small I can handle them. Just now getting small cucumbers even thought the plant has been out for almost 3 months.

I need one of the long tongs they use for bug collecting, can get them at the dollar store for food, catch them and smash them all in one, but I took my soapy water out collecting eggs, added some bleach once done to finish them off, so I feel like I did good.

Thanks for the suggestions. I get poison oak/ivy/sumac/virginia creeper every year, but this was a killer case compared to the others. I almost went to the doctor, but it finally stopped. Maybe the rain is making the vines drain more when you touch them, more concentrated. I know I thought it was the bug, all stink bugs have some, but they say they are in the east coast, I think we lean towards east in Tennesse, but we are somewhat a middle state.

"in some species the liquid contains cyanide compounds with a rancid almond scent."

That is what I thought I had read. I was careful not to touch them this time. It ate my let up and places nothing contacted them, accept working, causing ciculation in areas I slightly scratched while working cutting and nailing a piece of plywood. It definitley got in my blood stream is my guess, I should have gone to the doctor, but most important, I shouldn't have smashed them with my hands! Thanks again!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 9:51PM
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I'll reword part of my last paragraph, It ate me up in places the vines didn't touch and really weren't scratched. sorry for the typo.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 9:56PM
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Don't squish them, if anything the scent will draw in more (so I have heard). I carry a sport drink bottle and put them in it as I pick them off. If you give it a good shake now and then it will keep them from crawling out.

Good luck, flooding your plants with the hose, etc. will bring hiding bugs to the surface so you don't have to dig down so deep into the plants (and get scratched up). I raised my squash this year in halved plastic drums and they squash bugs are so much easier to control when the plants are off of the ground.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:38PM
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Also, if you drip irrigate and you're in a dry spell, it's worth dusting with diamectacous earth. It seems to do a number on the babies.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 9:46PM
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The bugzooka works pretty good. Look it up with google. I know it probably sounds hokey, but it actually works. Very clean, no squishing, just point and blast them into the tube.

I have absolutely no affiliation with the company.

I have only been using this device for about 4 months. Not sure how durable it is.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 10:31PM
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That is a cool tool, bugzooka. I'm not yet suffering from the bugs, just with the rash that is now gone. My neighbor is using seven dust, but it rained so much, even she had them. I went into her garden to pick the eggs off myself putting them in a soapy water bath, smashing her bugs too.

I've had only 2 outbursts, but the year isn't over yet, just beginning. They say they don't lay eggs in July, but I disagree in this area of Tennessee. If you drop the eggs to the ground, they will surely hatch. I ruined mine last year because the first eggs I just dropped to the ground until later on in the year. This year none have made it to hatching, watching 2 times a day morning and evening, so less to worry about and catching things quick enough.

I also found an accidental trick last year I can use, putting vaseline on my hands, wearing gloves, make them stick to my hand. I was trying to lubricate the plant with them near the base, didn't work, but it caught every squash bug lying around on the vine. A long round or 1 inch wide flat stick greased down in petrolium jelly would also do the trick, so far in a new garden spot, not a problem. Knock on wood, that is.

I laid down potash and coffee grounds around the plants as well, not sure if it helps, but having a good year, so will use every year. The plants look healthy. I've also heard the bugs won't attack healthy plants, not sure about that one, they say they take a host plant and leave the rest alone, this is DEFINITLEY not true, they were in every vine and every plant eggs and bugs.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 6:06PM
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