Tips To Keep Harmful Squash Bugs From Taking Over Your Zucchini Garden

Squash bugs are one of the many pests that can wreak havoc on zucchini plants. What makes them so damaging is their ability to suck sap from the leaves. This sap-feeding prevents water and nutrients from getting to the leaves of the plant, resulting in yellowing spots that eventually turn brown and can cause wilting. While it may not sound immediately harmful, it can cause vines and leaves of zucchini plants to collapse and may cause infected plants to die.

However, there are a few ways to prevent these insects from destroying your zucchini crop. One of the most effective ways is to deter insects naturally with repellant plants, like nasturtiums, that have a strong smell. Other ways include using row covers, removing and destroying squash bug eggs early, and trellising your plants. A combination of these methods may be your best bet to prevent your zucchini squash from becoming infested with these pesky pests.

What is the best deterrent for squash bugs?

Using naturally repellent zucchini companion plants is one of the best ways to banish squash bugs from your garden. Plants like nasturtiums, marigolds, catnip, tansy, radish, bee balm, and mint emit chemicals that are unpleasant to squash bugs. Strong-scented plants can also help attract good and beneficial insects like parasitic wasps and flies that prey on squash bugs.

In addition to planting fragrant squash bug-deterring plants, use row covers to lend a helping hand to your zucchini. Row covers are a thin mesh material that can provide an added layer of protection against squash bugs. The semi-transparent and lightweight material is draped over plants to shield them from damaging insects. But, they need to be held down with bricks, rocks, or other heavy objects to prevent pests from getting inside. Another option is to try changing your crops' location each year to prevent them from establishing themselves at a familiar location. Give a combination of these environmentally friendly methods a try to prevent critters from taking over your plants.

How do I protect my zucchini from squash bugs?

Another surefire way to protect your zucchini from squash bugs is to proactively remove them and their eggs. Regularly inspecting the underside of zucchini leaves can help you spot telltale signs of squash bugs early on. Their eggs are small, oval-shaped, yellow-orange, and bronze-colored. As soon as you find them, they should be removed and destroyed. This can help disrupt their life cycle and stop them from taking over.

Another effective way to protect your zucchini from squash bugs is to trellis your squash. Rather than letting them grow along the ground, this method involves using stakes, cattle paneling, or other structures to get your plants to grow vertically. Squash bugs hide in mulch and leaf litter on the ground, so this discourages them and impedes their ability to take refuge in ground cover. The other great thing about trellising your plants to grow vertically is that it allows for more airflow, which is instrumental in preventing disease. It also optimizes and opens up more space in your garden for other plants. Try these tips this summer to deter squash bugs from infiltrating your zucchini crop.