Squash bugs and Squash Vine borers can be difficult pests to get rid of in your garden. Stepping into the garden and finding an entire beautiful squash plant completely wilted and laying on the ground is totally disheartening.
So much so that many gardeners in my area won’t grow cucurbits at all. It’s difficult to keep up with all the eggs and damage and it’s heartbreaking to see all of your hard work destroyed in a few hours.
Squash bugs and Squash Vine Borer eggs are best discovered and dealt with early to prevent losing an entire crop. Both of these are laid by adult pests and can be identified easily if you have all the information we provide below.
Identifying the Eggs
Squash Vine Borer Eggs
The eggs of female squash vine borer moths are tiny, flat, and oval-shaped brown eggs. They can be seen by the naked eye. The eggs are laid separately and singly. This is one way you can be sure if the eggs are squash vine borer eggs.
Squash Bug Eggs
Squash bugs lay eggs in groups and all the eggs are found in clusters. These are either brick red or bronze in color and can be easily found on the underside of the leaves in clusters.
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Egg Laying Season
Squash Vine Borer Eggs
The adult squash borers come out sometime near the last week of June from their cocoons and lay eggs on your cucurbit plants.
The eggs hatch in 6-8 days, and the larva comes out of the egg, burrows directly into the plant, and begins eating it’s way through the plant until it’s done and then it drops down in the soil until it emerges the next year.
Not all areas of the country have Squash Vine Borers. Some areas see them one time a year between June and the first of July – other areas see them straight through until October – like my area :/. The Pacific Coast doesn’t have them and the southern states have 2 generations a year.
Check with your local county extension to see if these are a pest in your area and how many generations you’ll see each year and when.
Squash Bug Eggs
Once the Squash bugs start laying eggs (from early June to the mid-summer), they hatch in 5-10 days on average and come out with a whitish powder on them.
Squash bug eggs can be found on underside of the leaves, between the veins of the leaf. These eggs can also found on the stem of the plants.
The 2nd generation of Squash bugs overwinter and start producing eggs in the following year.
Right After Squash Vine Borer Eggs are Hatched
Squash Vine Borer Larvae
In around week, the eggs hatch and larvae comes out of the egg. The hatched squash vines borer larvae bore into the stem of the squash plant by making a small hole in the main stem and can remain there for about more than a month eating through the plant.
During this time the larva makes its way to and feeds on the center stem of the plant making it impossible for water and minerals to go through the stem to the rest of the plant.
Once it reaches the proper size, the mature larvae will drop out of the stem and into the soil where it pupates and remains and comes out in the following spring.
Squash Bug Nymphs
A young squash bug newly hatched is as small as 1/10 inch long and will go through 5 physical development stages. The stages are known as instars.
The young bug, which is also called a nymph, comes out of the egg with a greenish abdomen while their heads and legs are all black colored. They change their color while growing, first into light gray and then they get their dark gray or dark brown color.
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Biology of squash bugs
As adults, squash bugs can survive the winter in sheltered areas such as plant waste, under buildings, or rocks. The adults emerge in the spring and come out of their shelters and, they fly to cucurbit plants where they feed to grow especially on female flowers and mate. Females begin showing up in gardens in early June and continue to lay eggs until mid-summer.
Biology of Squash Vine Borers
The Squash Vine Borer moths dig holes in the ground, where they stay throughout the winter in cocoons till the following June and early July (late spring). they then come out of their cocoons during late June to first week of the July. The adult moths (Squash Vine Borers), fly around the host plant and lay eggs as well.
Physical Appearance of an Adult
Adult Squash Vine Borers
Squash Vine Borer adults are about a half inch long and have an orange colored, abdomen with black dots and a brown head.
It has two pairs of wings, front wings are metallic green in color and the hind wings are clear, which they fold when resting.
Adult Squash Bugs
These dark gray to dark brown colored large garden pests can be found in green gardens where they can puncture the cucurbit tissue and drink the juices. They have organge and brown stripes on their abdomens.
For those, who are having vegetable home gardens, Squash bugs and Squash Vine Borer are insect pests which are a nightmare, and no one wants to have them at all. Both enjoy sucking plant sap and green leaves of the plants, making small holes in the squash plants, pumpkins, and all types of melons.
To avoide the demages made by these can be avoided by using means of chemical control, using yellow sticky traps and spraying the soapy water on the plants specially pumpkin plants. A high pressure garden hose water spray can also help you to get kid of the eggs as well. You can use an effective method during the growing season to make your main crop which may include vine crops of your garden safe.