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squash borer protection

Posted by adrock430 6A (My Page) on
Mon, May 12, 14 at 21:04

I have a pretty bad squash borer problem in my garden and is probably here to stay. I've reviewed the solutions I've seen, not interested in sprays (organic or not) or row covers, cutting them out seems really tough on the plant.

Can I inject Bt into the stem as a preventative? Does anyone do this?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: squash borer protection

Good luck. Row covers are the best way to go, but then you have to pollinate by hand. I've also heard of people wrapping aluminum foil around the base of the stem, but if you have a lot of plants it could be a task.


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RE: squash borer protection

I injected BT once I found the buggers. Saved my squash last year.


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RE: squash borer protection

hnycrk, does the alum. foil work? Under the stems or wrapped?

CaraRose, did you apply just once?

Thanks! Adam


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RE: squash borer protection

I reinjected about two weeks later, I think about three times total.


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RE: squash borer protection

Hi Adam, I've never tried it before. I have so many squash and zucchini plants that it would take forever. But if your only growing a few plants then it might be worth a try. I think your supposed to wrap the base of the stem to keep them from boering into it.


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RE: squash borer protection

Aluminum foil only slows down the inevitable. When the plants are young, the borers will focus on the base stem. But when the plants get bigger, they pretty much lay the eggs anywhere. So if you wrap your stem, you'll get borer up the plant.

Yes BT injections does help, but it can be tedious.

Why are you against row covers?
Here is what I did last year... I covered the young plants till the female flower opened, then I removed the covers. It takes about 3 weeks until you start noticing the effect of SVBs... by that time I had plenty of squash. BT injections will prolong that time. But problem is that even if the SVBs dont do the plants in, my plants always loose vigor after they fruit for a while. They become easy aphid targets, and then powdery mildew.


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RE: squash borer protection

following up... so I think its better to do successive multiple plantings, with row covers this way. That way as some are winding down, others are getting ready for production.
Also once your plants are infected and starting to die. make sure you pull up all the plants and destroy them ( throw them in the trash, stick them in a trash bag.) You want to disrupt their life cycle. If you can prevent the grubs from going into the ground and pupating, then you can slow down the next round.

I sometimes wonder if somehow we could coordinate all the gardeners in a certain area to quit growing squash/pumpkins for 1 year, maybe that would help reduce the population of these things!


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RE: squash borer protection

Here is an article from Clemson ext.:

http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/pests/plant_pests/veg_fruit/hgic2207.html

Another more detailed from Minnesota below.

I hope it helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Squash


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RE: squash borer protection

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Tue, May 13, 14 at 13:26

Can I inject Bt into the stem as a preventative?

You sure can try it but from my experience it just wastes the Bt and the time and effort of doing it. Bt only works if the larvae eat it. That means the borer has to be there to eat it and it has to be injected at least close to where the larvae is. Otherwise you'd have to fill up the whole hollow stem if that were even possible just in case one might show up somewhere along it to eat before the Bt bacteria dies off.

If row covers, by far the most effective prevention since it prevents the eggs getting laid on the plants in the first place, don't appeal to you then careful monitoring of the plants during the 4 week SVB season and just a stick pin to stab it with is just as effective as pre-injections of Bt would be.

Dave


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RE: squash borer protection

I totally agree with successive planting. When some are starting do die off you have new plantings ready to fruit. Squash/zucchini is very prolific.


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RE: squash borer protection

  • Posted by glib 5.5 (My Page) on
    Tue, May 13, 14 at 22:46

in my case injecting does not work. you can inject the hollow stems until you are value in the face, but the larvae are in the solid part of the zucchini stem and will not be affected. I just plant zucchini, plant tromboncino, and plant some replacement (often lacinato kale) to transplant when the zucchini die. It so happens that they die on the week the tromboncino begins production, so nothing is lost.


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RE: squash borer protection

I've heard about tromboncino a few times in my search on this problem, i think i have to give that a try. I'll also go with a succession crop, I'll replace after the zuccs die off.

Sounds like zuccs, then they die off, then tromboncino, and hopefully zuccs again if I plant after I take out the zuccs?

Regarding the pin sticking, I keep a good eye on them and watch out for frass. Can you just stick a pin in around the frass and you'll kill 'em?


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RE: squash borer protection

  • Posted by digdirt 6b-7a North AR (My Page) on
    Wed, May 14, 14 at 17:48

Regarding the pin sticking, I keep a good eye on them and watch out for frass. Can you just stick a pin in around the frass and you'll kill 'em?

First you don't always see frass. It depends on where the borer is in the stem. If he is higher up then the frass remains contained inside the lower part of the stem. The more dependable symptom is wilting/drooping of 1 or 2 leaves compared to the others.

Second, even if you do see it he will be above it. You can usually find him with your fingers if you feel for a firmer/harder/more solid part of the stem. Then you stab the pins through the stem - in one side and out the other side - several times in that location.

Dave


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RE: squash borer protection

I ended up with planting parthenocarpic Caveli and Perfect Pick under tulle cover. I only open it to weed and to harvest. It also helps with cucumber beetles and squash bugs.


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