My friends who are learning to garden ask lots of questions. Yay! They want to learn. I love it!
One question that keeps coming up this time of year is “what kind of bug is this, should I squish it?”
Sometimes the answer is “No- that is a good bug” Sometimes the answer is “yes, do it now, before it is too late!”
So I thought that I would start talking about pest identification.
The first pest that comes to my mind is the evil squash bug. Usually by the time you see it in your garden, it may be too late. I hate these bugs! They creep me out. They are little vampire bugs. They suck the juice out of the leaves and stems.
I have dealt with these little demons quite a bit, so I will share what I do.
First, the season prior to planting squashes, cucumbers or melons; I plant onions, scallions, shallots or garlic. Those plants seem to send any squash bugs running for the hills.
Second, after planting the squashes, cucumbers or melons; I check the underside of the leaves every day. The day you skip or go on vacation is the day that the bugs will magically appear.
The eggs will be found on the underside of the leaves. If you see the eggs, squish them immediately! Once while I was looking at the eggs, they all hatched at the same time in front of my eyes. It looked like a science fiction movie. I had nightmares for a week.
If you are unlucky enough to spot some adults, put some onions in the blender with water and dose everything! They will run.
You can lay down cardboard in the evening, at the base of your plant and under the vines. The bugs will hide under there at night. In the early morning you can pick up the cardboard and toss it in to the chickens. What no chickens? (Then burn the cardboard!) You could use a spatula to scoop the bugs into a plastic zip top bag and seal it and then toss it in the trash.
Never plant squash, cucumbers or melons in the same place two seasons in a row. You are just asking for trouble. If your garden is smallish, just skip the next year.
Here is hoping that you never have to deal with these awful things!