Squash bugs

mating pair of squash bugsSquash bugs are another southern insect that is now common north of I-70. They feed on squash (winter types preferred over summer), pumpkin and also can be found occasionally on gourds and melons. Squash bug, Anasa tristis, causes vines to wilt and leaves to turn black and crisp. Symptoms may be mistaken for lack of water during dry periods. After fall frosts kill vines, insects will congregate on the sunny faces of unripe fruit and cause injury by further sap sucking.

The adult is gray-brown and about 5/8 inch long. Eggs are brick-red and are laid in clusters in the angles between veins on leaf undersides. Young bugs are green and red. Older bugs develop a grayish-white color.

Manage insects by thorough fall garden cleanup to deprive over-wintering adults of shelter. Mulches tend to increase problems as they give insects cover. Stimulate fast growth of vines by planting in warm weather and fertilizating. Hand pick adults and crush eggs or remove leaves bearing eggs. Carbaryl may be effective if particular attention is given to the base of plants where they cluster during warm periods. Diatomaceous earth and pyrethrin mixtures may be effective.

For more information, see the following Colorado State University Extension fact sheet(s).

For more information, see the following Planttalk Colorado™ script(s).

Tell us what you think!

Do you have a question? Try Ask an Expert!

Updated Tuesday, July 22, 2014