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Help! I need to get rid of squash bugs.

I know Sevin will kill them, but I would like to use a less toxic method.

I have been destroying them manually, but I am losing the battle.

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What are you doing now? In particular, are you going after the eggs and nymphs as well as the adults? –  Ed Staub Jun 7 '12 at 13:18

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Squash bugs are nasty. They can kill a fully grown healthy plant in less than a couple of weeks (I had it happen a couple of times). Once you have them its not easy to get rid of them naturally. However some hints

  1. Kill the adults, carefully rub the leaves to get the eggs off and kill the young.

  2. Encourage spiders to live in your garden, however the problem is spiders will only kill so much and could lead to getting bit (a large wolf spider bite is very painful, again personal experience)

  3. There are some companion plants that either keep insects away or act as bait plants there are catnip, tansy, radishes, nasturtiums, marigolds, bee balm and mint.

  4. I have heard veggie oil works but I have never tried it personally.

Lastly I also heard some types of squash have more resistance than others. Maybe contacting your local State Ag Department and or 4-H may help. Also try to see if there are any gardening meetup groups in your area.

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I have grown mint and tansy at a house I used to live at, and I know how aggressive they can be. So I would only let them into my vegetable garden in pots. Radishes are easy so I will try that along with diatomaceous earth mentioned by @kevinsky –  Mark Arnott Jun 12 '12 at 1:03

Timing seems to be everything if you want to meet certified organic standards. Adults overwinter in brush and debris near their last meal. Mild winters allow more adults to overwinter.

  • in the spring remove any cover, particularly mulch, from the intended planting area and at the base of plants nearby
  • Weekly monitoring to remove eggs once a week or more for the month of June when egg laying usually starts
  • Diatomaceous earth or pyrethrins can be applied around the base of the plant in June and one or two weeks later to reduce the population to levels that hand picking and egg control can manage
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I will try the diatomaceous earth. –  Mark Arnott Jun 12 '12 at 1:03

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