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Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Close Look At Squash Vine Borer Eggs

2008_0706image0047 After discovering a Squash Vine Borer worm on my Yellow Zucchini yesterday I needed to try to save my plant.

I didn't do anything fancy.  I simply cut off the damaged stems.  I had no idea that squash stems were hollow! 

Here's what I found while performing surgery on the Zucchini (above).  See the little red dots?  I think those are Squash Vine Borer eggs.  Worse, they are not just on the one plant, I found them on all four Zucchini plants.   My homemade natural remedy failed.  Bummer.  I wiped away all the red dots I found but I'm sure I missed some.

bug killer So, I headed up to my new favorite store Green Home Experts (on Oak Park Ave. for you Chicagoland folks)where I found this natural insecticide, Sharp Shooter.  It's made with clove and peppermint oils.  I treated my entire kitchen garden today.  I'm hoping that the spray will get rid of the red eggs before they hatch. 

Stay tuned for regular updates on my war against the evil Squash Vine Borer. 


  1. I'm very interested to see if your remedies work. This year I went on the defensive because I have been attacked so often by the bug and have placed aluminum foil at the base of my golden zucchini. I am hoping that will keep the bugs disoriented and will not lay their eggs in my garden this year. Good luck!

  2. Hi Gina - Oh, the dreaded vine borers! I remember when I planted pumpkins and watermelons they attacked them too. Nothing more disappointing then going out to check the garden in the morning and seeing a limp vine. You know you're in for trouble. Maybe the key is to spray earlier in the year before they start to lay eggs. I hope you will be able to defeat those buggers! You are gaining lots of valuable gardening knowledge.

  3. Heather's GardenJuly 7, 2008 at 1:38 PM

    They killed off my zucchini last year and I was heartbroken. I'm pretty much resigned that they'll get them again this year and probably my cucumbers too, though if they don't start producing cukes soon, it won't be much of a loss.

  4. I have read the the vine borers don't usually go after cucumbers and even though my pumpkin, squash, and zucchini are regularly annihilated by the squash vine borer, I always have a lot of cucumbers growing in close proximity to them that the borers leave alone. Heather - Maybe you'll be lucky with your cucumbers. And mine are just starting to flower, so I wouldn't worry too much if you don't have fruit yet. :)

  5. I hope that stuff does the trick. Organic gardening can be very icky at times, but it is so worth it. I hope this doesn't turn you off from veggie growing. Would using row covers from early in the season prevent this sort of thing?

  6. We lost all our squash last year due to borers. Good for you that you found them and took action. I hope you get some squash after all that waging of war.

    Robin Wedewer
    Gardening Examiner

  7. I saw an adult laying eggs on my plants and when I identified it, I waged a war of my own. Spent at least an hour picking off the eggs I saw. But, I cut a couple vines off that were low to the ground and impossible to see under and the bottoms of the vines were covered with eggs. Very disheartening. I am thinking about cutting some of the less established vines off of my plants to reduce the egg population. I also put out a yellow bowl with water in it. I heard the adults can get trapped in it. I don't want to use chemicals. I also heard they dont like cucumbers and that acorn squash are resistant to them. Good luck. Hope to hear of a remedy from someone here.

  8. I feel your pain. I just tried digging them out by hand, but many of my plants--crookneck, zucchini, and acorn squash--are looking sad. :( I fear the vine borers win this round.

  9. These things started eating my cukes after they went through both my zucchini and yellow squash. Found a bunch of them inside a cuke, eating it all up from the inside! Good luck, and keep us posted!

  10. I noticed the yellow excretions coming from some vines on my pumpkin and squash plants. I sliced them open and found worms inside. Got rid of them and covered the vines with soil. My plants are still healthy, no wilting of leaves. I don't have any fruit yet though. Looks like a long summer for these plants.

  11. Good info here! I just finished losing my Caserta and Blue Hubbard squash (one winter, one summer) to the dreaded vine borer. Lost them last year, too.

    I think I'm going to go ahead and replant both, even though chances of getting a Blue Hubbard are very slim at this late date. The Caserta grows quickly, though.

    I'm trying to decide what preventive approach to take: 1) keep Kaolin Clay sprayed on the vines 2) Inject some spinosa into the vines (it's like BT...some kind of bacteria) or 3) try row cover

    Or...maybe I should experiment and do one of each and keep track. Hmmmm.

  12. Hello, did a google search and came up with your blog. I had to pull out all my (formerly) beautiful and delicious zucchini in my garden yesterday after discovering this yucky destructive creature. I was thinking that the yellow leaves on them and most of my pumpkin plants was due to overwatering, which was confusing as I knew I was not overwatering.
    I suspect that my family will have to do without my fresh pumpkin pie this year, groans ensued all around when I made the announcement.

    I will try scraping them out, and burying the opened vines, maybe I can save a few. My youngest is begging me to do all I can to save her "Casper" pumpkin, she has been so looking forward to it on Halloween.

    I have also noticed what I suspect (after a google search) to be squash bug eggs. So I need to see what I can do about that.

    I am seriously considering not planting any cucumber/squash family next year just to see if it will get rid of future infestations.

    I am so sad.

    How are yur plants faring?

  13. Thanks everybody for visiting. I hope all your squash is doing great!

    Paula - I definately did not get to my squash before some damage was done. It is growing VERY slow, requires a lot of water (from the damaged parts of the plant being so close to the roots I think) and only producing minimal fruit (I still havnt harvested any zucchini yet but think I may get one this week). I'm planning to post another update this week so please check back. Don't give up, Paula! I think it would be a mistake to stop growing something your family enjoys so much. Lets (I'm going to do this, too) try to treat early and often next year, before they get a chance to win the war. I'm planning to spray with the natural bug spray I found as soon as they are big enough next year in hopes it'll keep the rascals away. Good Luck!

  14. Dang things, they finally got most of my zuks and yellows and punkins. I did major surgery on the ones theydidnt kill, burried the vines and two punkins are in intensive care, I actually had to do a graft with one, and the other I tied shut to try to reform it.

    between that and the powdery midlew its not been a good year for squash. Now, ask me about plums .... 56 jars of jelly!

  15. I guess these lil bugs affect people everywhere. i live in Hawai'i and i have zucchini, Pumkin (Big Max and Casper), cantaloupe, watermelon, and honey dews. The vine borrs are killing mostly my zucchini, i've had to pull one out and do surgery on one. i'm going to try out nematoads and see how that works. I found some on my cantaloupes today, had to cut some vines off but moved the bigger plants to pots and put them under a trellis to save them. All other melons seem ok for now but imma try and figure something out befor they find the rest of my garden.

  16. I realize this blog is a few years old...did you ever find a remedy? I'm really frustrated with the demise of all my squash and pumpkins.

  17. Linda in Illinois
    Someone told me to tape the lower squash vines with duct tape. I lost all my squash last year - has anyone heard of the duct tape preventative?