Squash bugs are a common problem for many New England farmers. These bugs are black, grey, or brown, and they suck the juices out of the stems and leaves of your plants. This causes the plants to wilt, then dry up, and finally turn black. They attack all kinds of plants in the squash family, and they also can cause damage to your cucumber plants.
Identifying Squash Bugs
The adults are around ½” in length and have a flattened, broad back. Nymphs look like adults. But they’re not as dark and they’re smaller and have black legs. A lot of times you will see nymphs and adults together. The adults will overwinter inside the soil or in the plant debris, and they’ll usually emerge in the early part of summer when vines begin running. They then will lay egg clusters that are reddish-brown underneath leaves. There are usually 1-3 generations each year, based on the region, and they’re found through North America.
Preventing & Controlling Squash Bugs
- Use garden fabric to protect your plants that are newly emerging. This is going to help with preventing the adults from laying their eggs. When the flowering starts, remove this fabric.
- If your plants aren’t covered, look for clusters of eggs and then destroy them. handpick nymphs and adults and then dump into soapy water.
- Spray your plants using Neem Oil. This is an organic spray made from a neem tree seed.
- Encourage some beneficial insects like parasite flies
- At night, go out and lay some boards in the garden flat. The squash bugs are going to hide underneath them during the night. Lift up the board when you get up. Then collect the hiding bugs and destroy them.
- Once harvest is over, remove any plant debris that remains in your garden. That is going to help with reducing the population next year.