How to Save Your Squash
by Sandy Swegel
Eww…Yet another bug thriving this year and ruining my food. Most of us have experienced our squashes suffering from powdery mildew that coats the leaves white, but knowledgeable gardeners are perplexed here in Colorado by squash that suddenly completely wilts and dies.
Turns out if the squash is wilting it’s often due to a very small bug, the squash bug, that injects a nasty venom into the stems wilting and killing the entire vine.
“Can’t we just all get along?” I holler at them. There’s an entire large squash plant and I’m willing to share with bugs….but the squash bug wants it all.
This is a pest you need to be aggressive with if you see it because it doesn’t share but will kill your whole plant given a chance. Look for the adult bug (looks a bit like a stink bug) or nymph (distinctive antenna and small head) and kill it (take a small bucket of soapy water into the garden with you and throw the bugs in, to drown them, if you don’t want to ‘squash’ them). More importantly look for the eggs on the underside of leaves and crush them. Handpicking works well in a small garden if you’re vigilant.
We have to stand our ground against creatures like the squash bug. I explain it to them as I dunk them in the soapy water or throw them to my chickens….if you don’t share and play well with others, you lose your privileges in my garden!