Squash vine borers

LuvMyRazz(8)July 21, 2014

This is my 2nd year to garden (raised beds). I've kept a garden diary so I can log things I learn for use next year. It seems that every year something new tries to sabotage my efforts! Last year it was cabbage worms,ruined all my cabbage and broccoli, and tomato horn worms ( which I found before it was too late). This year it was squash vine borers and cucumber worms! I did,however, have great success with okra,tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. What should I look for next year that will attack these? My question is (finally), do I need to treat my soil before I plant my fall veggies for any leftover eggs,worms? I was told that cabbage worms are eggs laid by a white butterfly,but obviously I can't watch all day with a swatter.
Sorry for the long post. Thanks for any help!

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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

The pests you are mentioning are all flyers and lay their eggs on the plants, not in the soil. So treating the soil would not only be useless against them, it would do more harm than good.

For the cabbage worms, just cover your plants with row covers or tulle or spray/dust with BT. If you have a healthy population of wasps, they should help take care of the cabbage worms for you.

For the SVB you can keep your squash covered with row cover until they start to flower but then you'll either have to hand pollinate or take the cover off which will allow SVB access to the plants (unless you grow parthenocarpic varieties). Lots of other control measures are available if you do a search here. Or grow resistance species of squash.

And hornworms you'll just have to deal with them when they show up (parasitic wasps help and BT works on them when they are young).


    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:15AM
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sunnibel7 Md 7(7)

Gardening is really eye-opening to how many different insects we share the world with, isn't it? Don't worry, of all the insects you encounter out there only a relative handful are pests to our vegetables. You'll get familiar with them pretty fast. So, just about any caterpillar can be treated with Bt, so that's most of the list you've encountered so far. You can grt it in a powder form for dusting plants (Dipel) or in a liquid concentrate for mixing up sprays (Safer Thuricicde e.x.). Those are organic, if that is important to you, and very effective. Also think about row covers maybe.

I find it better to identify actual pest problems and then deal with them than try to be proactive and get ready for all the possible pests that might arrive. For example, we usually have a moderate cabbage looper problem but not this year. So, I'm glad I didn't spend the time dusting those this spring to prevent caterpillars that weren't there anyway.

As for the SVB, well, there are a several discussions on this here. Using the search function should bring those up.

Anyway, tomaotes, peppers, and okra... Sounds like some good eating coming your way!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 10:19AM
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Thanks for the replies! I have read about row covers but wondered why use them if you have to uncover when they start to flower and the SVB can still get them? Also, what is BT? And what is a resistant species? Sorry for all the ?'s. I know I can google, but I really prefer first hand knowledge :)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 11:18AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

All your questions are discussed and answered in detail in the many other discussions here about SVB that the search here will pull up for you. Just type SVB in the forum search bar at the bottom of the page. That way we don't have to type all the same info over and over again. :)

As to row covers, you only briefly uncover to hand pollinate then replace the cover. Bt is the abbreviation for Bacillus Thuringiensis, a bacterial-based pest control specifically for caterpillar type pest. It is sold under several brand names including Dipel and Thuricide.


    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 12:48PM
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Here in the great North (near Detroit) I have seen no signs so far, and they usually show up for the 4th of July. I have painted the stems with old BT liquid (very stinky, I use Dipel now but it is a good way to use that mess) so I can not be 100% sure it was the winter, but one neighbor has planted zucchini for the first time, no BT not anything else, and they are completely unblemished. We are close to the northern range of SVB and I wonder if this winter has pushed the range south 100 miles or so.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 1:36PM
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