The dreaded day has come. My worst enemy (other than Bermuda Grass) has arrived - the abominable squash vine borer. I first noticed some of my squash leaves starting to turn yellow - the first sign of trouble. I then inspected the vines, and sure enough, there was the dreaded yellow "saw dust" - the sure sign that the squash vine borer larvae had burrowed into my beloved squash plants and was eating and killing it from the inside out.
I couldn't just let my squash plants die... they had been producing so well! I just wasn't ready to throw in the towel. Drastic times call for drastic measures - I had to perform surgery on my plants if I wanted them to have any chance of survival.
I grabbed a sharp knife and cut into the base of the vine, where the "saw dust" had accumulated - the most likely place where the larvae was hanging out. I tried to keep the cut as small as possible, to limit the trauma to the plant, but large enough to see and dig out the larvae.
Sure enough, I saw the little bugger in there. My first cut wasn't wide enough to dig him out, so I had to cut away a little more of the vine, but I finally got him out... SUCKER.
I then covered the base of the vine up with some dirt, hoping it will heal from the horrible incident. I'm really hoping the plants bounce back. I was able to extract larvae from my zucchini and acorn squash plants. I'm pretty sure the borer got to some of the other squash as well, but I couldn't find the larvae, so it might have been too late. I'll have to wait and see if my efforts did the trick. I might end up ripping out some of the dying vines and try to get another planting in. One thing is for sure, I'm going to use row covers next year to keep those nasty squash vine borer wasps off my plants.