Everything You Need To Know About Getting Squash Bugs Out Of Your Garden

Growing vegetables is all fun and games until you have to deal with the pests that try to ruin your hard work. If you've ever grown pumpkins, cucumbers, squashes, etc., then you know how pesky squash bugs (Anasa tristis) can be when they start crawling over your gourds. Squash bugs are largely flat, dark gray-brown insects with oval bodies that love poisoning vegetables with toxins, making the gourd's leaves turn black and wilt away. When squash bugs reach their adult life, it can be difficult to get rid of them, so once you spot their eggs or a couple of them roaming around, it's best to act fast. Picking them off or using pesticides are the most common ways to get bugs out of your garden.

Squash bugs can cause a lot of damage to your pumpkins and squashes. When they feed on the plants, they get near their leaves and vines and take their sap, which affects the plant's water and nutrient supply. The squash leaves begin to turn yellow and brown, causing them to die. Fertilizing your gourds will help scare off squash bugs from going near your vegetables, but pesticides can help prevent them from spreading if they're already in the area.

How to remove squash bugs

Unfortunately, you'll have to get a little dirty with the squash bugs to protect your pumpkins and squashes. Luckily, tackling them in groups at a time can help the process go by slightly faster. For example, we mentioned one way to remove squash bugs is by picking them off the plant. Simply put on gloves, fill a container with water and dish soap, and flick the bugs into the container. You'll want to do it with your hands to ensure they make it into the container instead of landing on the floor and running off. You'll only be able to pick off the adult squash bugs since they'll be larger and easier to grab. As for the eggs, find out where they're hiding and either scoop them into the container or crush them if they're hiding under leaves.

On the other hand, using strong pesticides like Sevin Insect Killer Concentrate can help kill off every adult squash bug and egg. Using the pesticide is effortless; you only need a cap full of the liquid in a spray bottle with water (4 fluid ounces per gallon of water) and spray the area where the bugs and eggs are located. It'll kill them instantly. You will need to respray when you notice them returning or every three months because it won't keep the bugs away forever. While it's a temporary solution, it helps keep your gourds healthy and growing.

How to keep squash bugs out for good

Once you succeed at removing all the squash bugs from your garden, it's time to make sure they never return. Since squash bugs love hiding under rocks, leaves, and vines, ensure you clear out everything by the time winter rolls around. Squash bugs enjoy an excellent resting place when the weather gets frosty. You can burn overgrowing vines or tie them up in yard waste bags. In addition, avoid adding mulch to your gourd's soil; squash bugs thrive in hiding beneath mulch areas.

Instead of using mulch, lay row covers to prevent squash bugs from invading the pumpkin's leaves and vines. The row covers help protect the plants from frost, but they still get the light, air, and water they need to grow. Moreover, the covers trap moisture and insulate the soil, so the temperatures rise. You'll want to lay them down and secure them with heavy items like bricks or dirt. The squash bugs won't be able to make their way through the bag; you can leave the covers throughout the winter and spring season extension. The covers will protect your plants, and you won't need them when June rolls around.