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Squash Bugs: Banish Them From the Home Garden

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Squash Bugs: Banish Them From the Home Garden

You too can grow Zucchini like these. Step inside to learn more.

Mychele Dainau, AFP, Courtesy of Getty Images

How to Identify Squash Bugs:

Adults are 1/2" long, brown-black with flat backs and covered in fine dark hairs. Nymphs(immature adults) are light green to gray, shaped like miniature adults and usually covered with a grainy white powder.

Life Cycle of Squash Bugs:

Unmated adults overwinter in garden litter, vines or beneath boards, emerging in the spring to mate and lay shiny yellow to brown eggs on the undersides of leaves. Nymphs mature during the growing season, usually molting five times during the process.

Squash Bugs Love Winter Squash But:

Squash bugs especially favor winter squash but will also dine on summer squash, pumpkins and gourds. Both adults and nymphs suck juices from the plants, which then blacken and die. Predictably, infested plants rarely produce any fruit.

Keeping Garden Plants Healthy is One Way to Control Squash Bugs. For More Ways :

The law of the jungle applies in the garden also so keeping garden plants healthy means less pests and less headaches. Squash bugs can be hand-picked from the underside of the squash leaves. Also, squash plants are less vulnerable to pest attack if the fruit is trellised off of the ground. Cultivating borders of nectar and pollen-producing flowers like Queen's Anne's Lace, Poppies and Coreopsis will encourage beneficial insects to visit and eat squash bugs for supper. Growing squash under a row cover will physically bar many pests although the gardener must then hand-pollinate the female squash flowers.

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