Squash Bugs vs. Squash Vine Borers
Have you noticed something off about your squash plants lately? Do they look limp, or do the underside of the leaves look like something has been munching on them? Then there’s a good chance your vegetable garden has been infested with either squash bugs or squash vine borers.
You may be thinking, aren’t those the same? The answer to that is no. But many people do have a misconception when they hear the two names.
It’s essential to know the difference between the two. By understanding the difference between squash bugs and squash vine borers, you can determine which garden pests are killing off your old and young plants, and by knowing that, you can then choose the proper method to control them.
But how can you tell one from the other? That’s the million-dollar question.
There are many differences between the two, from how they lay their eggs to how they look. Even the damage they cause is different.
But even with all their contrasts, it can still be tricky to tell which pest is destroying your squash and pumpkin plants. This can be especially difficult for beginner gardeners.
That’s why today is All About Squash Bugs vs. Squash Vine Borers.
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Identifying Their Appearance
Squash Bugs Appearance
Adult squash bugs have a flat back and a grayish brown body with orange and brown stripes on their stomach. They do have wings, but the adult bugs often don’t fly. They are more likely to stay on the ground.
The squash bug eggs are visible to the naked eye, and they are a reddish brown color.
The young squash bugs, also known as squash bug nymphs, have a grey body and black legs, but they are smaller and do not have stripes on their stomach or wings, unlike the adults. They also move more quickly and in groups.
Squash Vine Borers Appearance
Adult squash vine borers look quite different; they are moths that use their wings quite a bit. The other difference between them is the colors of their body. While adult squash bugs have a primarily gray body, squash vine borers have black wings and orange bodies with black spots down their back.
Unlike the neat and orderly egg laying of the squash bug, the squash vine borer moth lays her eggs willy-nilly anywhere and everywhere on the plant and never touching or in a group. She will lay on top of leaves, under leaves, on the stems, rarely at the base which I have often read online and never seen on my squash plants.
The squash vine borers larva looked drastically different from the adult stage, unlike the squash bugs. The lava has a grub-like appearance, and its eggs are oval-shaped brown tiny, and flat.
Signs You Have An Infestation
Signs Of Squash Bugs
There are a few tells that you have a squash bug infestation. The first tell is if you see the reddish brown eggs we mentioned before in egg clusters on the undersides of the leaves of your squash plant.
The second way to tell if this common pest is running rapidly through your garden is by looking at your plant’s leaves. If you have yellow spots on them or dead leaves, this could mean you have an infestation.
Signs Of Squash Vine Borers
The first sign of a vine borer problem is if you notice your squash plants or any other plant from the cucurbit family wilted or deflated. The second sign is if you see small holes at the base of the plant, there is a good chance they have taken over your plant.
The third sign is frass coming out of the hole where the borer entered. Knowing where they entered helps to know where they are in the plant so you can cut them out or target them with BT.
Vine borers moths will lay eggs spread out through the plant not in a cluster like squash bugs. Then the larva will burrow into your squash plant. Once it has eaten its way through the plant it will drop down in the soil and overwinter and come back as the dreaded Squash Vine Borer Moth starting it all over again.
Damage They Cause
Squash Bugs Damage
Squash bug damage looks very different from vine borer damage. Squash bugs puncture the plant, such as the undersides of leaves, the fruit, and the vines of the host plants, and then suck the plant sap out.
This causes your young and mature plants to develop brown spots on the top and underside of leaves, as well as cause the plant to eventually die.
Squash Vine Borer Damage
Squash vine borers damage your plants by laying eggs on your squash plants. Once the larvae hatches, it will burrow into the plant and munch its way through the plant down to the plant’s stem.
This will cause your plants to be unable to absorb nutrients and water. And we all know that’s what a plant needs to survive. Without it, the plant will certainly die off.
How To Treat And Prevent Them
Squash Bug Treatment And Prevention
To prevent squash bugs, invest in row covers. Not only will they protect your plants from squash bugs, but they can also fight any other pest. Another helpful tool is duct tape yes; you heard right. You can use duct tape to remove the eggs from the leaves of your plants.
One of the most common methods of squash bug control is to pick the squash bugs off the plants and drop them in dawn dish soap and water. You can also plant squash bug resistant varieties; however, these plants are not 100 percent resistant, but they can be less likely to be infected. These include:
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Squash Bug Treatment And Prevention
There are a lot of similarities in the treatment and prevention of squash vine borers and squash bugs, such as using row covers, and planting squash varieties that are resistant to squash vine borers. These include:
But there are also a lot of differences, such as for squash bugs, you can put them in soapy water at any stage of their life, but for squash vine borers you’re looking to put the larva in the soap and water mixture.
Another difference is the best way to get rid of vine borers is to inject BT into the plant with syringes. Don’t worry; this is entirely harmless to your plants and us. What it does do is cause the larva to stop eating and they will die and your plant can survive.
And there you have it; now you know All About Squash Bugs vs. Squash Vine Borers and the differences. Did we miss any key differences? Let us know in the comments!
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