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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The War On Bugs - Fighting squash bugs and cucumber beetles

While inspecting and harvestring zucchini today, I discovered a bug.  I'm a programmer, so I already hate bugs, and now that I'm a gardener too, I hate them even more.  Upon further investigation, I found bug eggs and another kind of bug.  Here are the pictures I took:

The above bug is a squash bug.  So, it's not surprising that I found it on my zucchini.  I found and squished 5 or so more of these nasty little bugs.

This little thing is a cucumber beetle.  Extremely nasty because they spread a plant disease called bacterial wilt, and if your plants get it, there is no cure.  It's the death of your plant.  Even though this is a cucumber beetle, I found this particular one on a zucchini leaf.  Cucumbers and zucchini are closely related.

Also in the picture above, in the upper right part of the leaf, you can see some eggs.  These are squash bug eggs.  I found numerous deposits of them and removed them.  I'm sure there are more.

From what I understand, this is a battle I'll be waging every day now.  Of course one organic tool for battling these bugs is simple removal.  Find 'em and squish 'em.  Another is the use of insecticidal soap.  I have a bottle of orth essentials insecticidal soap but I have a lot of leaves to cover, so I'll be picking up some nice friendly liquid soap of some kind and making a soap spray that I can put in my tank sprayer.  And then, I will probably spray the plants every few days.  Or more.

Another way to fight squash bugs is to trap them.  Apparently, if you put a few small boards in the garden on the ground, at night the squash bugs will congregate underneath the boards, and you can kill them.  Maybe in the morning, or maybe late at night after sundown, I'm not sure of that yet.  I put a few boards out there this evening and I will check them tomorrow night after it gets dark.

The good news is that my zucchini and cucumbers are all very vigorous and healthy, and as long as I keep on top of things, they won't suffer at all.  They could lose a few leaves easily and not be bothered.  Heck, I've removed a number of leaves just to let the sun shine on the beans!


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