How to get rid of squash bugs

background image of squash bug on a leaf with title of article and kitchen patch logo on top

If you are growing squash, pumpkins, or cucumbers, you need to know about squash bugs. These little guys lay reddish orange eggs on the underside of squash leaves or along plant stems and once hatched, wreak havoc on your veggies. Read on to learn how to identify and get rid of squash bugs in your garden.

Image of squash bug on a leaf. Image source: UMN Extension.
Image source: University of Minnesota Extension

What are squash bugs?

Adult squash bugs are just under an inch long. They are dark gray or brown. If you see one or two squash bugs, there are likely more nearby. The eggs are small, oval shaped, and are a reddish orange color. 

Image source: University of Minnesota Extension

Squash bugs are very common pests in home gardens. They damage plants by sucking the sap out of leaves, causing yellow or brown spots. Larger plants will likely survive their damage, but young plants may die as a result of the squash bug feeding. 

How to get rid of squash bugs; 3 methods

Method 1: identify the eggs early. 

Check the underside of your squash and cucumber leaves and along their stems regularly for squash bug eggs. You can remove the eggs and drop them into a pail of soapy water or squish them. 

Method 2: remove adult squash bugs

Check your garden regularly for squash bugs and pull them off your plants to either squish them or put them into a pail of soapy water. Alternatively, put a wooden board or card board in your garden overnight. Squash bugs love to hide under these items at night. In the morning, remove and destroy them.

Method 3: use insecticides

If you are using organic methods, you can use Neem Oil, Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew, or diatomaceous earth on your plants. If using a spray like neem oil or dead bug brew, spray your plants at night to avoid killing pollinator bugs.

Recap

Squash bugs are a common pest that can ruin a good harvest in your garden. Luckily, you have several options to get rid of squash bugs and save your veggies. Other common struggles home gardeners run into include controlling weeds, planting late, and figuring out companion plants! If you need more info on keeping your garden vibrant and healthy check out the rest of The Kitchen Patch blog and download the free Garden Guide!

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