It's time to get ready for the annual war between my zucchini plants
and the dreaded squash borer. This year I've decided to at least make
an attempt to slow the accursed things down.
After reading numerous posts, I've decided to make a many fronted
attack. I am going to line the base of the plants with aluminum foil,
spray shaving cream on the stems, cover the plants with row covers,
check for eggs, and be ready with a syringe and Bt. Also, I am going
to plant several times over the summer, especially in late June after,
I assume, the egg laying is ended.
Now some questions: where can I find the row covers needed (Remay has
been suggested), and how do you hand pollinate the blossoms if bees
can't get through the row covers?
Any other suggestions are appreciated.
Squash vine borer can be killed by chemicals but the trick is in the
timing of the application. An insecticide is effective when applied at
the time that eggs are hatching. A preventive treatment regime is to
apply an insecticide when vines begin to run, and re-apply every 7 to
10 days for 3 to 5 weeks. The application should be directed to the
base of plants, at crowns and runners.
Chemicals used for borer control in gardens are methoxychlor, rotenone,
pyrethrum, malathion, or carbaryl (Sevin), applied as sprays or dusts.
Restricted-use insecticides used for borer control by commercial
growers include endosulfan (Thiodan) and pyrethroids (Ambush, Asana,
Pounce). The biological insecticide BT, in the forms currently
available, is not effective because it cannot be applied to the plant
parts that are eaten by the borer.
Ramey will work and you can "tickle" the blossoms to pollinate. You need to
watch them closely get your timing right. Squash have male and female
blossoms on the same plant (monoecious). The male blossom is borne on a
slender stalk. The female blossom has the swollen embryonic fruit attached
at its base. The blossoms of both sexes are open and fertile only during the
morning hours of one day. During this time pollen must be transferred by
bees or by a person using an artists paint brush or Q-Tip, the female
blossom will close without being fertilized, the squash will not enlarge and
in a few days it will drop from the plant to the ground. The male blossom
may open a second day, but the pollen will no longer be fertile and the
blossom will close, wilt and drop from the plant that day or the next. There
are many more male blossoms than female blossoms on a squash plant. There
may be 3 to 4 male blossoms opening for several days to a week before the
first female blossoms open.
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