Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Evil Lurking

My arch nemesis has arrived...the squash vine borer.  Dun dun DUN!

A couple of weeks ago, I planted a late planting of summer squash with the hopes that I could do some harvesting before the cold weather comes.  But more so, I was hoping that by doing such a late planting, that I wouldn't have to combat the squash vine borer that has wiped out my squash plants the last three spring seasons.

Apparently, no such luck.  I found THIS in my garden this week:  a female squash vine borer moth laying her eggs on my plants.  Oh, the nerve!  It was like she was just waiting for me to plant more squash so she could crush my hopes and dreams (am I being a little too dramatic?...well, I don't think so, and you wouldn't either if you've had to deal with this horrible pest).

Now the I go around and try to pick off every single itty bitty egg on my ~12 squash plants?  Do I let the eggs hatch and the larvae burrow into my vines, hoping that I can maybe cut them out later, like I did earlier this year, and hope in the meantime that I can harvest a few squash?

Well, I just couldn't stand the thought of losing all my squash again to this pest, so, I did end up going around all 12 plants, and checked around every leaf and stem, picking the little rusty red eggs off one by one.

Apparently, the moth preferred laying most of the eggs around the base of the stem, just below the soil level - nice and hidden.  So, I had to pull the soil back and scrape off the eggs.  During the whole process, I probably missed a couple eggs here and there, but that gives me a much lower chance of having to deal with the larvae later.  At least, I hope so.

One thing is for sure.  Next year, IF I try squash one last time, I'll give it the royal treatment by planting in a bed that I haven't planted squash in the last few years (otherwise the squash vine pupae that burrow into the ground may hatch and crush my dreams again), and cover with row covers.  If that doesn't work, then I should really just give up, which breaks my heart because I LOVE squash, and squash plants are usually such great producers!

1 comment:

  1. Fingers crossed you've taken care of the bulk of the population-to-be and will get your late harvest as desired. Don't give up the ship, take one season and one method at a time and eventually you'll figure out what works for you. That might include hitting the farmer's market for squash, which isn't the worst thing to have happen.