Squash Bugs Prevent Control
How To Get Rid Of Squash Bugs Organically?
Squash bug or Anasa Tristis is one of the pests affecting plants belonging to cucurbit family and pumpkins. The adults as well as the nymphs attack the plants and suck the juices out of the leaves leaving the plants to die eventually. The leaves of the infected plant will turn brown and brittle. The insect has sucking mouthparts which help them to inject toxins into the plant and suck the juices out of the plant. The insect lays eggs on the underside of the leaves. The nymphs and adults cluster beneath the foliage along the vines and of unripe fruits. Young plants are more prone to damage if the squash bugs are not controlled.
Identification of Squash Bug
The adult squash bugs have brownish-black wings and are more than ½ inch long. There are orange stripes on the sides and underside of the abdomen. They have a hard shell and a shield like shape on its dorsal side. The young nymphs have a black head and a light green abdomen. The nymphs become grey in colour and have black coloured legs when they grow larger. They feed voraciously and are seen in groups. When crushed, squash bugs give off a very unpleasant odour.
Lifecycle of Squash Bugs
The adult squash bugs overwinter in sheltered places under the rocks or plant debris. During spring, the adults emerge and fly to the host plants for food and mates. The female bug lay about 20 eggs in a ‘V’ shaped cluster on the underside of the leaves till midsummer. Hatching of the eggs occurs within 10 days and will mature into adults within 4-6 weeks. Each year one generation will be produced. However, the life stages overlap and the different insect stages are visible in the growing season. The nymph passes through five instars to become an adult. Freezing temperatures can kill the nymphs. However, the adults fly to sheltered areas to overwinter.
How to control Squash Bugs?
It is difficult to get rid of the squash bugs once they infest your garden. Detecting the infestation early is critical in controlling the bugs. It is easy to catch and kill the bugs before they grow into adults. Prevention is the best way to control the attack of squash bugs.
- Make sure that you remove the plant debris and compost the vines so that there are no shelters available for overwintering and breeding.
- Rotating crops is an ideal way to get rid of the bugs.
- Make squash bug traps by laying newspaper or cardboards around the plant. The bugs will gather beneath this at night. You can collect the trap and drop it in soapy water to kill the bugs.
- Neem oil is an organic pesticide. Applying this insecticide 2-3 times in 7 to 10 day period is effective in controlling the bug.
- You can plant companion repellant plants along with squash plants or other host plants to repel the bugs from attacking the host plant. Nasturtiums, oregano, marigold, and white icicle – radish can provide protection for squash plant.