Squash Bugs

Asked May 19, 2016, 10:31 AM EDT

Hello,for the past 3 years I have struggled with squash bugs killing very early in the season ,my zucchini and yellow squash plants, and occasional cucumber. I can't seem to get rid of them! It's a huge problem ! I have tried some of your organic methods with poor results. Is there a spray or powder I can use to get rid of them? If so when,frequency and amount should I apply? Is there something I can do in the fall or winter? I don't have a picture to send but the bug is easily identifiable on your website. Thank you, Juanita Wimbrow

Talbot County Maryland

3 Responses

Getting organic control of this pest takes regular effort, from cleaning up well in the fall to get rid of overwintering adults, to scouting for eggs daily and destroying egg masses and other life stages during the growing season.
Here is our page on squash bugs, which give you more control ideas, including horticultural oil and insecticidal soap on young nymphs. The use of floating row cover also helps, but must be removed at bloom time.
The videos may be new since the last time you looked: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/insects/squash-bug

There are other insects which can bother squash, so be sure that it might not be something else (like squash vine borer, which causes quick, early season collapse), because squash bugs don't usually bother cucumbers.
Here is a vegetable profile page for each of these crops, including links to common problems for each:
Squash: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/vegetable-profiles-summer-squash
Cucumber: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/vegetable-profiles-cucumbers


How early can I apply oil/soap? How frequently? What is a floating row cover?

Insecticidal soap is usually sold as a 'ready-to-use' aerosol. Horticultural oil is usually sold as a concentrate and must be diluted before use. Read the label carefully before using either of these products. Generally, these products should be applied on a cool, cloudy day. If sprayed on green foliage on a hot, sunny, humid day the oil or soap will burn the foliage.
Floating row cover is described in the following page from our website. It is usually available at a garden center, nursery, farm store, or well-stocked hardware store.