Squash bugs can be a huge pest in the vegetable garden, and they can wreak havoc on our squash crops! But don’t worry, squash bugs are easy to kill using organic pest control methods. In this post, I will show you exactly how to control squash bugs without using nasty chemical pesticides.
Squash is one of the highest maintenance vegetables that I grow in my garden. I love squash, so I always fight the good fight against any bad bugs that try to steal my yummy harvests (don’t mess with me bugs!).
Squash bugs are a very common pest that love to feed on squash plants. They are sneaky, and can be difficult to control… but they are easy to kill using natural pest control methods.
What Are Squash Bugs?
Not to be confused with the squash borer bug, the squash bug (also known as the horned squash bug) is a common pest that can plague all types of squash and pumpkin plants.
Squash bugs, both adults and nymphs, will feed on squash leaves, the vines, and even the squash itself. They multiply quickly, and a large infestation of squash bugs can cause major damage to squash plants if left untreated.
Plus squash bugs are gross, and who wants to see hundreds of them crawling all over their squash?
Signs Of A Squash Bug Infestation
Squash bugs start to appear in mid to late summer. Keep an eye out for yellow and brown leaves that are curling up.
If you find a yellow or brown leaf on your squash plant, look closely at the leaf, both top and bottom, and see if you can find any squash bugs crawling around.
How to Control Squash Bugs Organically
The key to squash bug control is persistence. If you stay on top of the problem, then squash bugs won’t cause much damage in your garden (trust me, it sounds harder than it is).
Once you find squash bugs in your garden, immediately arm yourself with two things:
- A bucket of soapy water. (I use Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild organic liquid soap in my bucket)
- A spray bottle filled with soapy water. In the spray bottle, I mix about one teaspoon of Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild organic liquid soap with one liter of water. It quickly kills squash bugs and nymphs on contact. If you don’t want to mix your own, you can buy an organic insecticidal soap spray instead.
Be warned: Squash bugs move fast, like really fast! And they are elusive little buggers. You have to be quick with the spray bottle and bucket.
I find that it’s easiest to spray the squash bugs with the soapy water first, and that will slow them down (if it doesn’t kill them right away).
Then I pick them off and drop them into my bucket of soapy water (yes, I wear gardening gloves for this disgusting task).
Sounds hard, but it’s actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
Once I’m satisfied that I have more squash bugs in my bucket than the ones left in the garden, I take a little time to hunt for eggs.
Squash bug eggs are pretty easy to spot, you just have to look under the leaves. As I find squash bug egg clusters on my squash plants, I carefully scrape them off and drop those into my bucket of soapy water too.
More Tips For Controlling Squash Bugs
- Use organic neem oil or an organic horticultural oil to help repel squash bugs, and keep them from laying their eggs on your squash plants.
- Start looking for squash bug eggs early in the summer. Destroying the eggs as soon as you find them will help prevent squash bugs from infesting your plants in the first place.
- Diatomaceous earth is a wonderful natural pest control that can also kill squash bugs.
Squash bugs are one of those pests that you have to fight consistently in order to win the battle. Heck, you might even get rid of them completely if your garden is isolated from other gardens where squash is grown.
I haven’t seen squash bugs in my home garden in almost 10 years (knock on wood)! As for the community garden… well that’s a different story. I’ll be battling squash bugs at the community garden as long as I grow squash there – that’s just the nature of community gardening.
More Posts About Organic Pest Control
- How to Get Rid of Squash Borers Organically
- Organic Pest Control Methods for Controlling Japanese Beetles
- Natural Pest Control Remedies For Your Garden
- Controlling Flea Beetles in the Garden
To learn even more about controlling garden pests organically, click here.
Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below and tell me how you control squash bugs in your garden.