Pest Watch: Squash Vine Borers

Let’s talk about one of my most hated pests: Squash Vine Borers. Hateful little suckers. Vines will look great one day and collapse the next – have they visited your garden? Adult moths lay eggs on the lower part of the leaves and tiny larvae bore holes into the vine. Eventually, they will kill the plant as they eat their way through the inside of the stem. If you had them last year, there’s a darn good chance they will be back this year as the larvae burrow into the ground and overwinter in the pupae stage to emerge as an adult in the spring.

Your best defense? Remove all garden debris. LOTS of bugs and disease overwinter in that. Second, till the soil to expose the cocoons to freezing temperatures. In late spring when you plant, spray every 7 days with insecticidal soap or neem oil (Bt also works). Make sure you get the undersides of the leaves as that’s where the adults are laying the eggs. Two plantings a couple of weeks apart also helps. Good luck! 

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