Squash Bugs

Squash Bugs

Long-legged and mainly nocturnal, these true bugs are stubborn pests that favor cucurbits. Both adults and nymphs suck sap from stems and leaf undersides. The 1/2 inch long, shield shaped adults are yellowish to black, while the smaller, tear-shaped nymphs are yellowish green with red heads. Squash bugs stink when crushed.

Target: Primarily squash and pumpkins, but also cucumbers and melons.

Damage: Infested plant parts wilt and blacken; if the infestation is serious, the entire plant may die.
Life cycle: After overwintering in debris, adults lay clusters of shiny, reddish brown eggs on leaf undersides and stems, Nymphs that hatch from a single egg cluster feed together. There is one generation a year.

Notes: Collect and destroy eggs. Put out boards or pieces of burlap as traps; destroy your catch each morning. Insecticides usually reduce populations only temporarily. Get rid of crop debris, since the pests will continue to feed on uprooted plants and clippings.

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