Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Squash the Squash Bug!

If you've grown squash in Texas, most likely, you've been there. Healthy plants, good produce. You walk out one morning, and boom! The plant is lying there dead, with no warning! You have been slammed my friend. Slammed with the infamous squash bug.

These little buggers are absolutely horrible! They can take out your plants soooo fast! I've struggled with them every year except my first. Here's what these evil beings look like.

I'm telling you, they're the horniest bugs I've ever seen! This is basically how I always find them.  

Here's what they look like as babies. The eggs are usually found on the leaves of the plant.

They have been the bane of my existence when it comes to gardening. The one thing I can grow well in my iron ore soil is squash, but these buggers have kept me from having a decent crop.

But, those days are gone. Well, sort of. I have found what seems to be the best natural method of killing them. I actually tried some poison, but it only drove them away. As soon as the poison washed off, they were right back. Plus the poison doesn't kill the eggs, and the babies can wipe the plant out overnight. 

What works best is soapy water. It's a little tedious, you have to go out and turn over all the leaves and spray each bug, but it works. Only put a couple squirts of dish soap in the bottom of a sprayer, then fill the rest up with water. You don't want to put too much soap in it because it will burn the leaves. But this soapy water method works well, killing the adults and babies within a minute. Apparently the oily-ness of the soap clogs the pores on their skin, causing them to suffocate.

The next step is to take care of the eggs. The soapy water doesn't affect the eggs, just the live bugs. I've found that a torch works well for this, heh heh. If you keep the torch on low, all you'll do is kill the eggs, not the leaves.

Hopefully doing this will help me have a good crop this year! And I hope these bugs become extinct soon!! Happy carnage!

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