I have a customer that is a wonderful gardener. He gave me the run down on how to properly go after squash bugs. I hate these little stinkers. What? I am not making fun of them, they are a form of a stink bug. Okay, maybe I am making fun of then "a little".
Here is what I do:
First, in the words of Bugs Bunny, "This means war!"
Second I turn over my zuke leaves and look for their eggs. When located, I crush with my fingers.
Tip: my friend told me to look for leaves that have the most sunlight. The Stinkers lay their eggs under these leaves and use the heat as an incubator.
Tip: they like to lay their eggs at the vein junctions.
Second: when I turn the leaves over, I have some botanical pyrethrin at the ready. These stinkers are social in nature. So, when I catch a lot of them together, BLAM with the pyrethrin! And the little, immature stinkers love to cluster. Saves on pyrethrin.
Tip: the little ones die instantly. The big ones -- stink bugs being a form of a beetle -- are armor plated. Nothing affects them, except if you get right up on the them and spray under their bellies. Then they die like the younger stinkers.
Tip: look for black scars on the top of the leaves. Means the stinkers have been feeding, typically the little stinkers. Often times, you catch them at it.
Tip: the big ones -- the ones that lay eggs -- don't like to water. Probably because they like to stink. So I have a watering rob with a shower spray. I spray under the "canopy" (cuts down on powder mold too). I make sure and spray at the base of the plant. This causes the big stinkers to slowly come moseying up. And they are kind of stupid too. So, you can get right up on them and give them a tummy bath of pyrethrin.
Tip: over winter, the big stinkers develop red spots on the sides and a red spot on their tummies. They are the ones that show up on your zukes first come the spring. Kill these on sight. These old guy stinkers can smell zukes for miles and will come an egg laying!
Tip: the stinkers like to kill one plant first, then move on to the rest. Check that plant out first. Then spot check the rest. Look for the tell tale black marks on their leaves.
I haven't been able to find any of these stinkers in a few days now. But, I am ready for them!
[insert maniacal laughter here!]