Squash bugs: alternative to carbaryl and pyrethrin

idgardenerJuly 27, 2009

Squash bugs killed one of squash plants already, but I'd like to save my cucumber, zucchinis, and melon plants.

I tried a pyrethrin spray, but it didn't seem to have much affect on them. Maybe I should try pyrethrin again, in a higher dose?

I'm really not crazy about using Sevin/carbaryl on vegetables. I've read that it is a broad spectrum insecticide, and I have other plants that need bee pollination. I've also read that it is a carcinogen.

I have too many plants to kill all the squash bugs by hand. It would take a whole day unfortunately.

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anney(Georgia 8)

Sevin does not efficiently kill adult squash bugs anyway. They seem to be impervious to it. And I've never seen a recommendation for any other kind of spray that kills them.

So if you want to control them, you might plant some yellow or Hubbard squash, trap crops, a bit away from your garden and let them feast there. Those are their favorite cucurbits and they'll usually leave the others alone if these are available. Get one of those hand vacs and clean the squash plants a couple of times a week to keep the numbers down.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 12:51PM
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west_texas_peg(8a West Cen TX)

I squish when I water and remove all eggs from leaves that I find. Last year they ran me over until I began to squish them. My husband used Sevin power with no results at all. I have never tried squishing because neighbor said the smell would draw more...it doesn't...must be an old wives tale!

Good luck...I found eggs on my Burgess Buttercup Squash and the leaf of a watermelon nearby this morning.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 1:30PM
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    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 1:49PM
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I'll try the soap and water one tonight.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 2:51PM
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Planting later (June) has worked for me the past three years ... just luck?! There are a few bugs when I water the plants & they come up from the ground where I see & 'squash' them. Some say a late planting by-passes most of the egg laying ...?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 6:06PM
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I use masking or duct tape ( the sticky side ) to remove the eggs clusters look on both sides of the leaves , use no mulch unless its plastic sheets and them lay some flat boards around your plants and check them early in morning or during the night as they will seek shelter there. I also use my garden hose end sprayer and put a soap mix in it and foam and soak the entire patch it must touch the bugs but it will not affect the eggs they will die in a few minutes if you have them it will be a battle , I check daily for eggs and ones on the boards and weekly with soap I also carry a 1 quart squirt bottle with a soapy mix in it for bugs I see during my egg patrol . any soap works I use dish soap you can also get insect. soap at any garden store. good luck

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:42AM
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Yep -- dish soap works great.
Also, you could vacuum them up with the hose of an old vacuum cleaner, then stuff the hose with a rag so they can't crawl out.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 4:44PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

At the end of the season [yeah when interest may drop], if you will religiously stomp on the last bits of greenery and bad fruits, you can decimate the carry over population for next year. Doubtful?...just try it.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 5:08PM
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agree with Wayne -- The Rodale folks suggest something similar and call it the "fall clean up trick" where you put all the zuke plants and fruit in a trash bag and trash it. Last year I also left a few fruits in the row, and vacuumed up the squash bugs sitting on it each day. It has helped immensely for this year. Plus, my country neighbors love to tease me about my garden practices, and the vacuum provided much humor for them. :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:38PM
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I lost all my zukes to SVB last year (knock on wood haven't seen them this year) and squash bugs were bad too. Bagged all the dead plants, even the yellow squash (SVB didn't like that as much) at end of season and I still had lots of SB this year. Read that they'd hide in mulch so was afraid to put hay down but then I did a few weeks ago and WOW lots fewer eggs now - but we've been having a lot of rain too maybe they don't like it wet.

Now anybody got any controls for cucumber beetles? I read Surround but don't know about spraying everything with clay if it's hard to get off. Could do sticky traps I guess, too late for trap crop.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:34AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

'Now anybody got any controls for cucumber beetles?'

Sure, but most seem intimidated to try this. Cucumber Beetles emerge here in mid May. These are the live over the winter adults. They will immediatley seek out young cucurbits [squash, cukes, cantaloupes, gourds, and watermelon] seedlings. They eat the cotedons and bury in the soil to lay eggs. IF you kill all of them at that time, you will have few to none for the second generation. [Some spotted ones may be driven in on the wind from the south]

At this time, [June-July] if you will carefully spray some Sevin on top of a few of the leaves in the evening, you will decimate the population.....See, you don't have to drown everything with poison!!! A stitch in time saves 899. The beetles love the blossoms, but I believe they also like some bits of green leaves too....that where you get them.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 10:55AM
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