Bugs on my zucchini

Asked July 25, 2017, 7:33 AM EDT

Hello, I have these bugs on my zucchini and I think they are not friend but foe. If they are detrimental, how can I get rid of them? I don't have a scale on the photo, but these bugs are about 1/4 inch long. The zucchini seem to be struggling a bit with leaves dying off. Also, on occasion I will have a zucchini that looks amazing--dark green, healthy leaves, lots of flowers. Then the next day it will be wilting and dead. I am wondering if this might be something eating the roots? Our garden is a community garden and we had the soil tested last year and early this spring. We made adjustments in the pH by adding lime--the rest of the values were ok. We add nitrogen to our irrigation system. I have applied milky spore several times along with beneficial nematodes. We plant a cover crop of rye and crimson clover or hairy vetch every fall. We are trying to be as organic as possible. Thank you so much for your help, Rebekah

Anne Arundel County Maryland fruits and vegetables vegetables

1 Response

The bugs on your zucchini are squash bug nymphs. All cucurbits, including zucchini, are susceptible to this pest. Take a look at our web page about squash bugs, their life cycle, and what you can do to control them:

The wilting symptom may be due to squash vine borer or cucumber beetle damage. Squash vine borer damage would be found at the base of the stem. The following page explains what to look for and what to do if you see these affecting your plants: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/insects/squash-vine-borer

Cucumber beetles spread bacterial wilt disease. https://extension.umd.edu/growit/bacterial-wilt-vegetables. Recommendations for controlling cucumber beetles in a vegetable garden are provided on the following page:

Your soil test results look good and it sounds like you are doing all the correct things with regard to soil amendments. We do not recommend using milky spore; it has not proven to be effective.

Since you have squash bugs and problems with wilt, remove garden debris at the end of this season (do not compost it). When you put new plants in next season, consider covering them with a floating row cover up until they start to flower. That will help to exclude the major insect pests of zucchini and other summer squashes.

Good luck and don't hesitate to be in touch again if you have additional questions.