Everyday Gardeners

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Squash Vine Borer Wins

The vigorous Jack Be Little pumpkin vines that once scaled my rustic tripod have succumbed to the ravenous caterpillars.

ARGHHH, they are back this year.  Yes, I’ve read that collars around the stem are the best prevention. Yes, I figured they wouldn’t strike again this year. But they did.  The squash vine borers are back and they are destroying the Jack Be Little pumpkin vines in my front yard.

And this year, I’m not fighting back.

Last year I declared war when the leaves of my summer squash and my zucchini started to droop and turn brown.  Armed with an Exacto knife and a bucket of mud, I would search the stems and vines for the tiny holes and golden sawdust-like frass.  Then, I would slice into the stem until I found the hungry little larva (hatched from eggs laid by the Melittia cucurbitae moth) that were killing my plants.  I must admit there was a certain pleasure to extracting and crushing the caterpillars.  Finally, I would pack the stem’s wound with mud and water it well.  My squash and zucchini survived, but my kids and I had to perform multiple “surgeries” to destroy the squash vine borers.

This year, I’m not doing it.  I give up.  And early next summer I will try wrapping the stems of my young plants with aluminum foil collars to prevent the moth from laying her eggs.  I am interested in learning about what methods have worked for anyone else so please let me know if you have a success story.

3 Responses to “ Squash Vine Borer Wins ”

  1. I have heard spinosad at the base of stem 2-3 times a week at june15- aug 15

  2. Thanks, I may just give that a try next summer!

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