I had a problem with squash borers last year. I was wondering if anybody knows
what the egg looks like when it gets laid on the plant stem.
I found a few hard, very small brownish circular things that I thought might
be the eggs. There was one on a stalk attached facing the ground, maybe four on
every other plant.
I hate these pests. They take a wonderful thriving plant and bring it to its
So far the only way I found to fight them was to find the holes they make on
the bottom of the stalk and stick thin a wire in and try to skewer the little
black faced larvas.
If I can get the eggs off the plant before it is too late that would save a lot
of back breaking work.
In my experience there will be a small grouping of off white eggs about
the size of pin head on the underside of the squash stem. I've not found
any squash that will totally withstand the borers but Zuchetta
Rampicante Trombocino, a long zucchini with a bulb on the end, does
better than most. Available from Pine Tree Seeds, with whom I have no
connection other than as a customer. I am also growing Tatume, a Mexican
squash that gets about as big as a baseball when it is eating size but
will get much bigger and seedier if left to grow, it has some medium
resistance to borers.
Another alternative is beneficial nematodes, the nematode preys on the
larvae (grubs) of most beetles including those of the squash borer.
Won't help much this year but they will deplete those in the ground.
Also kills the grubs of the June beetle (called June bugs around here)
and other grubs that feed on grass roots before turning into beetles.
You can also inject Bt into the holes where the borers are or just slit
the vine there and kill them, then heap dirt over the slit and the
squash will root there again. HTH
I was going to mention BT if nobody else did. While I was reading,
and looking for the mention of BT, I was thinking. I'm wondering if
anyone has ever used BT injections as a prevention? I wonder if a
person could inject a strong BT solution into the stem when the
plant is still young and tender. I wonder if the BT would stay
vital, protected inside the vine and stop an attack before it really
I would try it myself but I don't get borers most years anyway.
Someone who gets them every year should try it.
George Shirley wrote:
A less time intensive method, should you miss the off-white to pinkish eggs
but happen to notice the frass, is to take a sharp pocket knife and slit the
stem lengthwise from the borer hole toward the growing tip. Chances are
you'll run into the borer within a few inches and can easily get rid of it.
I know some people who give a shot of Physan into the slot (not sure it's
necessary or even helpful) and then mind a few loops of masking tape around
the slit to hold things firmly together to prevent any opportunists from
getting in (I guess that's the idea of the Physan too). On bush zucchini,
it's a little harder since the stem is so thick and the leaves close
together. Saccrifice a few leaves and the process is the same.
Inject the base of each plant with a solution of beneficial nematodes.
That is supposed to work _wonders_ against squash borers...
No, I've not tried it yet, I just moved my squash growing inside the
greenhouse this year. Too soon to tell if it's gonna work yet, but I
have high hopes! I did put 2,000,000 beneficial nematodes into the soil
last Sunday tho' in an attempt to get fleas and grubs under control
tho', and hopefully fire ants as well.
They are cheap for the amount of work they do. :-)
Fresh eggs are lighter pinkish tan and darken to a reddish brown. Patrolling
once a day (can be stretched to once every 36 hours) and crushing all of the
eggs is time consuming but effective. The eggs might be single or you might
find many. If you miss and egg you might notice a small spot of 'chewed up'
stem. Often you can scrape this away and bring the tiny larva with it, or use
a fine wire to kill the larva.
The moth flies by day and is, in fact, most likely to be seen moving around
in the very middle of the day. It imitates a wasp as it flies, but it is
harmless to *you* -- every one you kill is that much less trouble with eggs
Some images of the adult moth:
http://pestdata.ncsu.edu/cropprofiles/docs/KYpumpkin.html (scroll down)
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)
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