Pumpkin Bugs and Squash Bugs 101

I love my backyard garden.  There’s something wonderful about stepping out the back door to a plot full of free (well, “free” if you don’t count the countless hours of work), organic, fresh, delicious produce.

But there’s always a fly in the ointment, so to speak.  Weeds (always), bugs (sometimes).

July usually heralds the arrival of my biggest bug enemy, the Japanese Beetle.  These guys eat to a pulp anything they want (and they like a lot of things).  Morning and evening I go out with a bucket of soapy water, flicking them into it where they meet a watery death.  But this year, for some reason, we’ve had none of these pests!  I have no idea why, but I am grateful.

However.  During the past few weeks, I’ve noticed my usually-healthy pumpkin and squash vines looking a bit anemic in spots:

vines attacked by squash bugsOh well, I attributed it to the weather – it has been cool this summer.

Then recently, the girls would call, “Ohhh, look – some icky bugs in the pumpkins!”  Again, no big response from me.  It’s a garden; bugs like it here.

But a few days ago I put everything together.

squash bugsThanks to Google, I have learned that the evil culprit is the squash bug.  These nasty bugs love pumpkin and squash plants, and they not only suck the good stuff out of vines, they also inject poisonous substance that kills the plants.  As if that’s not enough, they also them move on to the fruit and attack it as well!

Well.  I was on a mission.  I have gone through the patch twice a day since, picking off the adults and crushing them on the patio, and smashing the babies within the leaves they crawl on.  I have also smushed all the (numerous) eggs I’ve found on leaves.

For another year, it appears that dusting the plants with Sevin is effective in combating these pests.  I do like an organic garden, but I guess some Sevin on pumpkin vines wouldn’t hurt …

All of you gardening gurus out there may have known all this already, but it was new to me.  That’s something else I like about the garden – always something new to learn.


7 thoughts on “Pumpkin Bugs and Squash Bugs 101

  1. Wouldn’t a very smooth ride get a little boring? So along comes an army of bugs to liven things up!

  2. I feel your pain!! I have been battling these little dudes all summer. However, through my research, I have learned that adult squash bugs are not affected by Sevin (Believe me–I have tried plenty of it. It will take care of them prior to that stage, but I am currently on the hunt for something that will take care of the mommas and daddys out there destroying my field!!! Any suggestions will be great 🙂 Thanks and happy harvesting to all.

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