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Monday, May 27, 2013

Grey Colored Beetles on Zucchini Most Likely Squash Bugs

Q. Every year my zucchini plants are infested with grey-colored beetles that destroy my zucchini.  How do get rid of the beetles?
Squash bugs on the underside of squash leaves.

A. These are most likely squash bugs. You can verify it by visiting my blog and checking the picture I posted to confirm it. It is not just zucchini they will attack but other squashes such as winter squashes, melons and sometimes cucumber. It is reported that butternut and acorn winter squashes are somewhat resistant.

            You can plant late, in June, after their infestation time has passed. However you may have a hard time getting the fruit to set when temperatures are very high.

Squash bug damage and infestation on squash
            You can hand pick them as you see them. You must do this as they appear soon after planting and get rid of them as soon as you see them. Do this for about three weeks and the numbers will be greatly reduced.

            Thirdly, you can vacuum them with a handheld vacuum cleaner. They will be on the undersides of the leaves so look for them there. 


  1. you can also kill them with a tablespoon of dish detergent mixed with a gallon of water put into a garden sprayer. Spray the underside of affected leaves and also directly on the bugs. Do this when the sun is not out yet early in the morning or after plants are shaded. Try not to get on flowers since it can be harmful to bees. Also a key to control is to carefully scrape off the dark orange eggs on the under side of the leaves before the squash bugs have a chance to hatch.

  2. I got rid of worms on my grape leaves by using a mixture of vinegar, dish detergent, and water. You can experiement with amount. I put it in a small spray bottle like windex. I know it also kills ants.

  3. I use duct tape or a lint roller to remove the ruby colored eggs on the underside of the leaves. If you take a couple of store bought squash and put them together in a nice damp spot and let them start to decay - you will find, when you lift them up in the morning, the bugs will have all congregated there. Then just vacuum them up. Do it each morning and you will be able to keep on top of them. Also, if you mulch well, water with a hose in the morning. Put it right next to the main stalk. If you wait just a bit, you will see the squash bugs starting to crawl up the stalks to get away from the water, and you can vacuum those up too. If you live in the desert I would not suggest using detergents on your leaves. First, it will kill all beneficials too but detergent can cause phototoxicity in hot weather. If you are using a shop vac - and you do not empty it each time to use it, be sure and block the opening of the hose or they will crawl right back out again. You might also try Surround WP - it won't kill the bugs but will slow them down because they will be confused because it won't look like a normal plant they eat. Surround also helps plants not to get dehydrated and reflects the sun's rays about 20%.