If you have a squash plant that is wilting, yellowing, or suddenly dying, chances are you have a squash bug or squash vine borer (SVB) problem. These two pests are the most common problems for squash plants, and they can be difficult to tell apart.
The best way to determine which pest is damaging your squash plant is to look for the tell-tale signs of each. For squash bugs, you’ll typically see small brownish-gray bugs on the underside of the leaves of the plant. For squash vine borers, you might see small, flat reddish-brown anywhere on your plant.
Keep reading to learn more about the tell-tale signs of squash bug vs. squash vine borer damage!
Why It’s Important to Identify Which Type of Bug is Damaging Your Squash
Identifying which type of bug is damaging your squash is important for several reasons. For one, each garden pest has different methods of getting rid of them. Treating a problem caused by squash bugs will require a different approach than treating a problem caused by squash vine borers.
Additionally, depending on what type of bug is damaging your squash, you may need to take different preventative measures to avoid the problem in the future.
The Difference Between Squash Bugs and Squash Vine Borers
Squash bugs and squash vine borers both cause damage to squash plants, but it’s imperative to be able to tell the difference between the two pests.
Squash bugs are small, brownish-gray bugs that feed on the plant sap. They’re usually found on the undersides of the leaves, and they can cause severe leaf damage.
Squash vine borers, on the other hand, are small, fat white caterpillars that feed on the inside of the stem of the plant. They bore into the stem of the plant, and they can kill off a squash plant in a day if not treated quickly.
How To Tell If Your Vegetable Garden Has Squash Bug Infestation
If you suspect squash bugs are damaging your squash plant, the best indicator is to look for the small, brownish-gray bugs on the underside of leaves. These stink bugs will usually feed on the plant’s sap, which can quickly cause the leaves to yellow or wilt.
Additionally, a squash bug population can spread disease to other plants, so the most effective way is to identify and treat them as soon as possible. Look out for squash bug eggs because if you overlook this, you might be dealing with a squash bug population sooner or later. Squash bug damage can hamper young plants to grow.
Squash bug aggs are oval, copper colored, and always laid in a group touching one another.
How To Tell If Squash Vine Borers Are Damaging Your Plant
If you suspect squash vine borers are damaging your squash plant, the most tell-tale sign are small, flat, brownish red eggs laid anywhere on the plant.. These eggs will hatch and the larvae will bore into the stem of the plant and begin eating which cause your plant to die quickly.
In addition, there may be small entry holes on the stems with a sawdust looking mush coming out – that is the excrement of the bug inside your plant, which is a key indicator that the plant is being attacked by squash vine borers.
What To Do If You Have Squash Bugs or Squash Vine Borers
If you suspect you have a problem with either squash bugs or squash vine borers, it’s important to act quickly. For squash bugs, the best approach is to use a pesticide that is specifically formulated for squash bug control. Diatomaceous Earth is a great natural remedy for squash bugs.
For squash vine borers, the best approach is to inject BT into your plants:
Additionally, preventive measures such as crop rotation and proper plant maintenance can also help to prevent future problems. Providing row covers to trap crops and keep them from being infested by squash bug nymphs is also a good idea. You just have to be sure that you hand pollinate your plants as the pollinators won’t be able to reach your plants either.
Another natural way is to use neem oil, just be sure you purchase 100% cold-pressed so you don’t waste your money. You just have to put neem oil in a spray bottle and spray generously on the undersides of leaves.
Using diatomaceous earth products can also help prevent the life cycle and population of these young squash bugs from growing.
Squash bugs and squash vine borers are two of the most common garden pests that can attack squash plants. It’s important to be able to distinguish between the two, as they require different treatment methods. Fortunately, there are several tell-tale signs that indicate whether your squash plant is being damaged by squash bugs or squash vine borers.
If you suspect you have either pest, it’s vital to act quickly in order to prevent further significant damage to your squash plant.
Early detection is the easiest way and the most effective method to combat either pest.