Squash Vine Borers

  • Squash Vine Borers

    Posted by DixieMidge on November 4, 2022 at 1:57 pm

    This past summer one of my biggest accomplishments was actually being able to harvest crookneck squash that I planted in containers. It did beautifully…until it didn’t. It seems like almost overnight all 15 plants were infested with vine borers. How can I keep this from happening next year? I’m almost afraid to invest the amount of work in growing them again. (for weather/season reference: I live in Alabama)

    South replied 1 year, 2 months ago 11 Members · 36 Replies
  • 36 Replies
  • Little-Flock

    Member
    November 4, 2022 at 2:59 pm

    Hi, DixieMidge…I live here in central Kansas and encountered vine borers too one year. Yikes! Now what I do is this. When the plants are around a foot tall, I dig down around the stem in the dirt about an inch and put 8-dust around the stem and up the stem to about 1/2 inch above soil level. I replace the soil and then I cover the application area with straw. Personally, I am super-careful to cover the dust so bees cannot come in contact with it as the dust will kill bees. I don’t like using dust of any kind, but in this case I do and I have had no issues with vine borers since. I recheck the application after rain or watering to make sure I don’t need to reapply. It seems the straw mulch protects the dust from being washed away most of the time.

    • DixieMidge

      Member
      November 4, 2022 at 5:06 pm

      Thank you so much for this tip! I am definately going to try that next season.

  • Hippocrates_Garden

    Member
    November 4, 2022 at 5:01 pm

    Vine borers attack squash plants with hollow stems. There is an entire branch of the squash family that does not have hollow stems but is solid, thus no vine borers. Yes, that means you would be foregoing the “typical” varieties of squash for something GASP! different.

    The good news is, many of the hundreds of squash in that branch of the family tree (Moschata), when picked small and young, can be a direct replacement for how most people eat yellow, crookneck, zucchini etc, AND, when they are fully mature, they store for months without having to hurry and freeze, or can or eat or…

    (I’ll stop here before putting my second foot up on the soapbox)

    • DixieMidge

      Member
      November 4, 2022 at 5:16 pm

      Haha. I did not know that! I am not opposed to trying a new variety. Maybe by applying new pest control techniques to the crooknecks and growing a different variety, I will be able to greatly increase my harvest next year. Thank you!

  • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

    Member
    November 5, 2022 at 2:38 am

    I’m in zone 8b-Coastal AL and fought those horrible pests the last two years. Squash bug AND worst of all the Squash vine borers. I have tried EVERY SINGLE TRICK in the book along with every suggestion offered on YT channels. NOTHING worked for me. I planted 6 yellow straight neck squash & zucchini plants VERY EARLY this spring. I did get a few squash then the bugs & borers woke up & even tho I had tried several remedies, I was defeated. I planted 6 of each 4 more times (May, June, July & Aug) and not matter what I did from checking the plants several times a day, killing squash bugs, injecting the stems with BT, soaking the soil with BT, wrapping stems with tin foil, planting marigolds all around each plant the only thing that slowed them down some was spraying the plants with Dr Bronners Peppermint Castile Soap. I only THOUGHT I had squished all the squash bugs but that peppermint soap had bugs flying EVERYWHERE. I had a beautiful full lush mint bed (til the drought & extreme heat wave got it). I would harvest and air dry the leaves then cut up the stems into small pieces & put around the base of the squash plants. That kept the vine borers at bay until the scent wore off. Squash vine borers also got my acorn squash, spaghetti squash and TRIED to get my Cuccuzzni squash that is supposed to be immune to squash vine borers. They destroyed my Cherokee Tan pumpkins. I will try again this next spring AND will also grow some in tubs in my greenhouse. Hate the thought of having to hand pollinate but seems most of my usual pollinators were NON-EXISTENT this year, even with many flowers blooming all over my garden (to attract pollinators). We had so much to battle this year with the cool spring & torrential rains, then the drought & EXCESSIVE HEAT WAVE that even killed several of my fruit trees/bushes & any veggie plant that wasn’t planted in partial shade. The UV Rays/Radiation was brutal this summer!!

    I also used the Peppermint Castile Soap on ALL my veggies and by golly it worked on many other garden pests. Not sure if it actually killed them but as long as the MINT SMELL was on the plants, the bugs stayed away. I was almost tempted to stand guard round the clock to keep those strange bugs (some I’ve never EVER seen before) away from my veggies. Had to be one of the worst gardening years I’ve EVER had.

    Replanted green beans, pruned back my eggplants, okra, tomatoes, bell pepper & they have produced better this fall than spring or summer! Go figure. Maybe should have tried planting squash again this fall…hmmm

    • DixieMidge

      Member
      November 5, 2022 at 3:48 pm

      Yum! I love the smell of mint. I will definitely buy some Dr. Bonner’s. Do you think that if you planted mint around the squash that that would help or does it need to be dried for a more intense smell? I know it can be very invasive but gosh it would be so pretty.

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 5, 2022 at 5:12 pm

        I’m sprouting new mint plants as we speak in order to plant some in with my squash this next spring. I garden in large 35-gallon tubs so the mint wouldn’t escape the tub and you can always pull up and plant any extra somewhere else. Mint smells HEAVENLY all the time, especially if you’re growing it. I will pick a few leaves when gardening if I get an attack of heart burn. BEST remedy for that and it is natural. ALSO, I make homemade vinegars with “mother” from fruit (Like the well known Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar people use for acid reflux). Cost pennies to make yourself. I have several gallons of different flavors bottled up and have 7 more gallons fermenting now that I will strain off for their 2nd fermenting process. My most fav flavor so far is my homegrown peach with ginger. You can use it to cook with or even make your own “vinaigrettes” for salads by just adding some EVO. Sorry, got off topic there for a bit.

        I found that the EQUATE brand from Walmart works just as well as Dr Bonners Peppermint Castille soap and MUCH MUCH cheaper. I’ve stocked up on it to have for the future in the event it may not be available at some point. I mixed some of it with the Organic Pesticide BT and it worked short term. They both have to be reapplied after a rain or watering and BT has gotten a bit expensive so I’m saving my supply of it for other pests. Here in coastal AL we NORMALLY have a lot of rain in the summer, with the exception of this year when we were in a major drought & massive heat wave. If you follow Danny & Wanda from Deep South Homestead, I live just east of them and went thru the same weather problems they did this year.

        Good luck with your gardening. I’ll let you know if the MINT planted in with my squash will help with the squash bugs & squash vine borers. There has GOT to be a way to beat these pests! Have a super weekend!

    • Bluesky63

      Member
      November 14, 2022 at 1:49 am

      Mid-Missouri Zone 6A I believe that this year is the first time that I thought that the UV radiation was too high. I also had trouble keeping some of my squash and cucumber pants alive. I did have some success by watering about noon to 2:00 o’clock, even though I thought the soil was damp enough. I would have used a 40% sun block cloth, but I did not have one large enough.

      Vine borers have not been a problem here -have not had any for last two years. Our challenge is squash bugs (gray stink bugs).

  • Private_Cluck

    Member
    November 5, 2022 at 3:31 am

    I have not found anything that can completely eliminate vine borers. I actually stop planting squash for a couple years because of that. This past spring, I tried again with limited success. I didn’t eliminate them but was able to hold them down long enough to at least get some squash. First, I had heard about using a dixie cup at the base of the plant, so I tried it. Last, I sprayed BT several times during the life of the plant. I did lose a few at first. Eventually, I think the plants got large enough that enough of the stem was exposed so that the moths were finally able to lay eggs on them. Not sure that I could keep enough BT on the plants to then kill off the borers. Decided to plant a small number of squash in the fall garden (I’m in zone 8B). Plants just have not grown much and not enough pollinators to produce any squash. Think this is going to be a bust.

    • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

      Member
      November 5, 2022 at 7:00 am

      Thanks for the insight on planting squash in the fall. I was hoping someone had tried it so I would know if it MIGHT work. Seems like our zone (8b) has the squash vine borers except in the months we can’t grow squash of any kind. I’ve also noticed reading comments on YT channels offering advice/remedies for squash vine borers that it is a very common problem all across the US the last few years. Fortunately for the more northern zones, they can either plant a little earlier or later than normal and be able to escape their attacks.

    • DixieMidge

      Member
      November 5, 2022 at 3:53 pm

      Yes! The squash was doing so well while the weather was cooler. It was when it finally started warming up that it all went to pot.

  • Goatlover

    Member
    November 5, 2022 at 10:53 am

    I am resorting to building a screened hoop house JUST to plant vining vegetable plants in. I know it will mean hand pollinating, but I want to SOMEHOW be able to grow squash, cucumbers and the like.

    • DixieMidge

      Member
      November 5, 2022 at 4:03 pm

      OMG! Cucumbers! I didn’t even try to plant them this year because of all of my rotten luck with them. I pressure canned for the first time this year (nothing that I grew) and I would love to learn to how to water bath can some pickles and relish this next year.

      One of the most enjoyable sights (and sounds) last season was all of the bees buzzing in and around the squash blooms. A screened area sounds like a great idea but I would definitely have to learn how to hand pollinate.

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 5, 2022 at 5:24 pm

        You can grow cucumbers in the fall and they tend to do better here in the slightly cooler temps. A lot of our garden veggies tend to slow down or stop producing once we reach temps consistently over 85-95& extremely high humidity. (I’m in zone 8b-Coastal AL). I planted my cucumbers early this year when it wasn’t so hot and even planted in big 35 gallon tubs, I had cucumbers running out my ears. I made so much sweet & dill relish AND pickles I won’t EVER have to make or buy any more. I love eating them fresh, too, so will always have them in my garden, regardless.
        If you don’t mind me asking, what county are you in and zone? I’m in Baldwin Co, next to Mobile Co, way down south.

  • JD-in-GA

    Member
    November 5, 2022 at 1:06 pm

    I’m in the southeast (zone 7b) and I have yet to find anything to stop vine borers. You might slow them down, but they always win unless you resort to full-on, harsh, chemical warfare (which I refuse to do). Organic pesticides can help, but sometimes I picture a few stubborn borers kicked back, drinking BT like it was a Mai-Tai on the beach and asking for more.

    Opinions will vary, but the best (laziest? cheapest? surrendering?) strategy I’ve found is timing your plantings around the borers if your zone’s frost calendar allows:

    — start your seeds indoors, 4 – 6 weeks ahead of your targeted transplanting dates

    — always plant more than you think you should to allow for inevitable losses

    — first planting is right after last frost. Second planting is mid summer (pre-started transplants help a lot, but direct-sow will work if your zone has a big enough fall window).

    — If you see borer damage, pull that plant the moment you get your squash picked or the plant is too far gone, whichever comes first, and trash-bag it or burn it.

    — Optionally, skip the spring planting entirely and focus on the mid-summer planting. Borers seem to be at their worst in early to mid summer, at least around here.

    Bonus tip for too much squash: Squash fritters are easy. They freeze and reheat *very* well, especially in an air-fryer.

    • DixieMidge

      Member
      November 5, 2022 at 4:22 pm

      Haha. Is there such a thing as having too much squash? I planted (indoors) 20(?) squash seeds last year thinking that I would have maybe 5 actually grown into something. I ended up with about 17 healthy plants. I think that’s what gave me the encouragement that I could actually grow a garden. Thinking back, I may have had cold feet about when to start the seeds. I will start them much earlier for next season so they can be set out sooner.

    • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

      Member
      November 5, 2022 at 7:06 pm

      We have squash vine borers almost year-round, with the exception of Jan & Feb but you can’t grow squash in our 2 months of winter. Don’t often see freezing nights, just here & there & warms back up the next day. I think I understand the larva or adult overwinters 6-8 inches (sometimes deeper) in your soil and emerge in the spring to lay their eggs. May have that confused with another “bug”, we have so many we deal with here in my zone 8b-Coastal AL. Some I’ve never seen before and I’ve been gardening off/on most all my life but consistently for the last 15+ yrs. They even got my Cherokee Tan pumpkins this year. Guess they aren’t getting choosey with their cuisine choices.

      Had a bug devouring my Ichiban & Black Beauty eggplant leaves. Strange little grayish-colored, blood-engorged tick-looking bug. TONS of them of all sizes all over the eggplants. Took a picture of them & came inside to look them up and they were Potato Beetles. I do grow potatoes and my season ended MONTHS ago but never have seen a potato beetle. Found out they also LOVE eggplant, of all things. One of the few plants I had that survived our brutal heat wave & severe drought.

      I pruned my bell peppers, tomatoes, eggplant and even my okra and they all leafed back out, started blooming & producing better than they did this summer. Also planted a fall crop of green beans and they are putting out like crazy! I’m having to grow a lot of my veggies in partial shade the last few years. Guess those brutal UV Rays/Radiation is burning up what used to be planted in full sun

      I’m on my 3rd yr growing my Carolina Reaper HOT pepper plant. I make a HOT RELISH with these and when people say I can’t make anything TOO HOT for them to eat, I break out a jar of BONNIE’S HELL FIRE. Had one dude tell me, while he was spitting & sputtered & barely able to breathe…DANG THAT IS SOME HOT STUFF. Never thought I would EVER find something too hot I don’t want any more of it!! I have it in a raised bed from spring til late fall. Then I prune it back, unless it is still full of peppers, and put it in a pot to overwinter. Come spring, I plant it back in the garden. I have probably gotten 50 or more Carolina Reapers this year and it is still blooming & has baby and almost ready to pick peppers. Just use rabbit poop for fertilizer. Doing that with some of my bell peppers this year to give them a jump start on growing.

      Will be started my squash plant seedlings in Feb this year. I have a heated greenhouse, domed seed trays, heat pads, full spectrum grow lights, etc., so I figure if I get them big enough to ALMOST be ready to bloom when I plant them, I can at least get some harvests before those vine borers start attacking. By then MAYBE the pollinators will be out to do their thing or I will hand pollinate.

      • DixieMidge

        Member
        November 6, 2022 at 2:35 pm

        I am taking notes as fast as I can! Thank you for this fantastic information! I’m new to all of this (gardening, canning…) so it is extremely helpful hearing the how, why, and when from every one.

        Once the Christmas trees come down, I will start my seeds in my diningroom… and not make the mistake of thinking I can start numerous seeds (green beans) in a large tub like I did last year only to have one of our cats decide to lay on top them.

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 6, 2022 at 6:06 pm

        That is great to take notes for a newbie gardener of problems others face and their solutions or like the vine borer continued problems to try to resolve.

        Gardening is a learning process and a lot of trial & errors you will need to overcome. What does GREAT this year may not be as well next season or what failed this year may flourish next season. A lot depends on the weather and pests you encounter. Also, remember what may work for my zone successfully may not work in other zones. BUT DON’T GET DISCOURAGED AND NEVER STOP TRYING!!

  • DrumminSon

    Member
    November 6, 2022 at 2:46 am

    I built a couple of 4×10 above ground boxes and haven’t had a problem with vine borers ever since…

    • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

      Member
      November 6, 2022 at 4:40 am

      I had some planted in shipping crates I used for raised beds up off the ground about 6-8 inches. That didn’t stop them or slow them down at all. I have also planted in 35-gallon tubs sitting on concrete blocks…didn’t stop them in those either. What zone are you?

      • DrumminSon

        Member
        November 6, 2022 at 3:35 pm

        I’m in zone 7 eastern NC and while I don’t really know how the vine borers get in the soil to start with I covered the bottoms of the boxes with hardware cloth and permeable synthetic ground cover and filled with compost purchased from a local provider and have had no problems. When I used to plant my squash in the ground I did have some problems with the borers although not as bad as it seems some of you are having. Thanks

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 6, 2022 at 5:53 pm

        The squash vine borer drop to the soil and burrow down 2-3 inches and form a cocoon. They overwinter in the soil and emerge in May as an adult Squash Vine Borer Moth. Here in coastal AL (zone 8b) they can emerge from the soil anytime they finish their growing cycle from pupae to adult even into October. Keeping your raised beds off the ground or using hardware cloth will not deter the eventual infestation & the beginning of the squash vine borer life cycle. How long have you been growing squash or planting in your raised beds??

        “The squash vine borer has two overlapping generations per year in the southern U. S. but only one generation in the northern U.S. (Jackson et al. 2005, Canhilal et al. 2006). In intermediate states like Ohio, some of the borer population undergoes diapause after one generation, but most complete two generations a year (Capinera 2008). In Florida and other southern states, squash vine borer overwinters at the end of October as mature larvae or pupae enclosed in cocoons 25 to 50 mm below the soil surface. Adults emerge from cocoons from mid-May to late October (Canhilal et al. 2006).”

      • DrumminSon

        Member
        November 6, 2022 at 8:33 pm

        Been growing squash for about 45 years only in a raised box for the last eight years. Back when I grew squash on a 4 acre scale I never saw signs of a vine borer but on that scale I guess it would be easy to miss but it certainly wasn’t a problem. I don’t sell any produce anymore so growing squash and tomatoes in a container gives me all I need but beans corn peas and such I still grow in the ground traditionally and I will leave the science of it all to you guys and girls…

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 6, 2022 at 9:13 pm

        I’ve been gardening for years and never had any problems with squash vine borers or even squash bugs. I raised big gardens IN THE GROUND and had all the squash I wanted to eat AND can and shared with others, too. I’m 66 yrs old and never for the life of me seen all the bugs I’ve dealt with the last 2-3 growing seasons. I don’t grow anything in the ground except for sweet potatoes and sugar cane. Scaled-down my gardening to a more manageable level for me. Too many weather issues and almost having to learn to garden all over from scratch. Going to build a modified greenhouse/high tunnel (my design) and grow what I can in there to help ease some of the weather problems as well as these bugs I’ve never seen before. Don’t figure I have too many more years of gardening left except on a small scale. Things have done got TOO COMPLICATED for me and I’m spending more time researching problems/bugs than I am actually in the garden. THE YOUNGER GENERATION can try to figure out how to solve the problems. My old ways of doing things just don’t work anymore.

    • JD-in-GA

      Member
      November 6, 2022 at 4:07 pm

      Here in the SE, it seems like the vine borer moths can see those yellow squash blooms from a gazillion miles away and come lay eggs. I wonder if anyone has tried changing the color of the blooms to any other pollinator-attracting color except for “cucurbit-yellow”, to see if the vine borers pass them by?

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 6, 2022 at 4:50 pm

        I’ve wondered about the same thing, actually. The reason I’m saying that is when I planted YELLOW MARIGOLDS (as a lot of people recommend doing to DETER the vine borer moths), it is actually DRAWING them to the squash instead of deterring them. And once they find your garden, they NEVER leave, kind of like they have you set as a favorite in their GPS/Mapquest sensory perception.

        Here is an article I’ve just read that will explain the life cycle and where they overwinter, etc. Since I grow most all of my veggies either in 35 gallon tubs or raised beds, I may try to dig around in the soil to find those cocooned larvae that will overwinter in the soil and smash them in the fall AND spring. Lots of work BUT if it will lessen their population, I’m to the point of trying anything.

        https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/squash-vine-borer-melittia-curcurbitae/

      • DixieMidge

        Member
        November 8, 2022 at 3:08 am

        Now that IS interesting. If it is the yellow of the blossom that they are attracted to, should you stay away from all shades of yellow for companion planting? Plant shades of red and purple instead?

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 8, 2022 at 6:17 am

        The blooms of the squash plants and other plants that attract the vine borer moth are ALSO yellow and have hollow-like vines/stems. If you can read a PDF file (not sure if you have a PC, laptop, tablet or phone) this is a very detailed file that explains everything about the squash vine borer and has pictures of the male/female moths, the larvae/borer and explains their entire life cycle. It will help you to understand a lot about these pesky pests.
        I never had problems with squash vine borers until I planted a very prolific producing pumpkin called Cherokee Tan. They are personal size pumpkins the Cherokee Indians grew because of their abundant production AND their long storage life. I planted 5 seeds and had vines that ran all over my garden, up into the trees surrounding my garden area. I had never in my life seen the likes of this massively producing pumpkin with vines that could have stretched to the next county and back. They grow their blooms that produce pumpkins that will ripen up until 1st frost. Most pumpkins produce and are harvested usually in the fall, all at one time, unlike the Cherokee Tan that ripen all during their growing season. I bet I had over 50 pumpkins that 1st year I planted them. So that can explain how/why I may have gotten the squash vine borer larvae in my soil that started the life cycle. With the Cherokee Tan pumpkin, where ever the vine may touch soil, it can take root and grow another plant, thus the reason I had vines growing EVERYWHERE, up the trees and even into the woods. The vines just kept rooting & producing another plant. It was actually kinda weird to see PUMPKINS hanging from the trees in the woods. The following year I had problems even getting the Cherokee Tan pumpkins to live. I planted them late, along with spaghetti squash in a different area from the yr before and the vine borers got my plants, all of the spaghetti squash but a couple of the pumpkin survived since the vines it had produced had rooted and lived even when the mother plant died. That yr I only got about 15 or so pumpkins but the vines that survived the vine borers grew all over this NEW area I planted them. I got a few good harvests of squash/zucchini that year until the plants just wilted over & died. I just assumed it was from lack of watering (raised beds & container/tub gardening needs extra watering) which I failed to do since I was busy picking blueberries and figs. An elderly neighbor had lost his wife and he had an orchard of blueberry “TREES” (huge old bushes that were like trees) that he let me pick ALL I WANTED if I would prune and weed around them. I would go every few days and pick 2-3 five gallon buckets of huge, juicy blueberries. So I was busy picking & processing all these blueberries then FIG season came in and I picked gallons & gallons of figs from his trees. THEN PEAR season came when the figs were done and I again had a neighbor with large trees & an abundant bumper crop of pears. So I got tons of pears I canned in every way I could think of as well as dehydrated slices that I vacuum sealed. I’m the type of person that I HATE TO SEE ANYTHING EDIBLE go to waste so I picked & picked & canned/dehydrated blueberries & figs and filled my pantry. I slacked off on my veggie garden as the heat was slowing its production anyway, common for my area. Pear season ended & elderberry season began…so I picked from my trees (they are native wild elderberry that grow EVERYWHERE here like weeds) and what I found in the woods. Dehydrated those to make syrups/tinctures for cold/flu season. THEN scuppernong grapes were ready so I picked off/on from my grape vines until time to plant my fall garden. THAT is why I didn’t notice anything wrong with my squash plants, except me thinking they died from lack of water.
        This year was a different story. The elderly neighbor passed away so I didn’t have access to his blueberries or figs, my neighbor with the pears had pruned their old trees back due to a disease called fire blight so they had few pears to share so all I had to pick was from my young fruit trees and had more time to garden. And it HAD to be the worst gardening season I have EVER had as far as production/harvests due to the severe drought & heatwave we had AND the squash vine borers and many other bugs that invaded my garden that I had never seen before. Identified some of them as being leaf legged bugs, kudzu bugs, potato beetles and also fought the cabbage moths that lay worms that destroy your greens & other garden plants. I was ready to SCREAM. I don’t use any pesticides in my garden but was tempted since I couldn’t seem to get anything to grow & produce. Fall gardening is better as most bugs/pests are not as bad in the cooler months…unless there will be something new & different hit me I’ve not had to deal with in the past. Wished it was like the good ole days when you could plant and have good harvests and not have so many things hit you like pests, Extreme heat, drought, flooding rains like this year. I’m getting too old to try to fight constantly to just get a few veggies!

        Here is that link to the PDF on Squash Vine Borers. I bet you are tired of reading by now, anyway, LOL!! Apologies for the long comment/rant. Just goes to show that no matter how long you’ve been gardening or if you are a newbie, you just don’t plant a seed or plant and always have a good year of harvests.

        https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/SP503-A.pdf

  • Hippocrates_Garden

    Member
    November 6, 2022 at 3:58 pm
    • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

      Member
      November 6, 2022 at 5:24 pm

      Here in the deep south we have TWO generations of squash vine borers. The article you posted said there is only ONE generation. That only applies to areas not in the SE or deep south. I tried planting squash in March, got a couple of harvests then the squash vine borers emerged. I planted 6 of yellow squash & 6 zucchini 5 different times, March, May, June, July & August and the vine borers got every single plant, even the young seedlings in August.

      I was able to prune a couple of the squash plants back that were infested and covered the base of the plant with soil, they came back and were flowering then were attacked again. I spent HOURS inspecting the plants for eggs a couple of times a day (not hard to do with just 12 plants) and would smash the ones I would find. I injected the vines with BT at several intervals along the vine as there can be several vine borers in a single vine. Also sprayed the plants to deter the moths. Didn’t work. I covered the bases with aluminum foil, pantyhose, stretchy medical tape. DIdn’t work. My best results was spraying the plants & soil with Dr Bonners Peppermint Castile Soap. NO INSECTS like the smell of peppermint and even tho I thought I had smashed all the squash bugs, vine borer moths, AND eggs of the vine borers & other pests I was bombarded with this year, I had bugs flying all over the place like I had unleashed a swarm of hornets. I’ve used mulch around the base and the lower vines/stems of the squash plants hoping to deter the moths from laying their SINGLE EGG all over the bases or lower vines/stems. Again, didn’t work. I planted marigolds as suggested by many people & YT channels in the large tubs & raised beds where the squash was planted. That seemed to only WORSEN the problem as I’ve recently found that the vine borer moths are attracted to the yellow flowers of the squash…so WHY plant YELLOW MARIGOLDS as a deterrent??

      The vine borer moths are a problem here almost year around, with the exception of the months we can’t grow anything (Jan/Feb)-zone 8b.

      Here is the link to the article I had saved about the life cycle & where they overwinter.

      I plan to dig in my beds the squash were planted to see if I can find & kill the COCOONED larvae overwintering a few inches down in the soil. I will repeat in the spring before I plant and SEE if that will at least help lessen the population of the moths that emerge in May (in my zone).
      https://hort.extension.wisc.edu/articles/squash-vine-borer-melittia-curcurbitae/

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 6, 2022 at 5:56 pm

        The squash vine borer has two overlapping generations per year in the southern U. S. but only one generation in the northern U.S. (Jackson et al. 2005, Canhilal et al. 2006). In intermediate states like Ohio, some of the borer population undergoes diapause after one generation, but most complete two generations a year (Capinera 2008). In Florida and other southern states, squash vine borer overwinters at the end of October as mature larvae or pupae enclosed in cocoons 25 to 50 mm below the soil surface. Adults emerge from cocoons from mid-May to late October (Canhilal et al. 2006).

  • Louisiana

    Member
    November 16, 2022 at 4:12 pm

    Danny King said in one video on his channel. Since he started using Dr Earth High phosphate fertilizer. He has not had any vine bores. https://youtu.be/pE5nDC3aa08?t=100

    • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

      Member
      November 16, 2022 at 6:09 pm

      Thanks for reminding me of that video! I know they use that Dr Bloom fertilizer for most of their plants. He had gone to another source of the Liquid Phosphorus since Dr Bloom had gotten so expensive. I will try to find it and if I can afford it, will def order some to see if THAT will help my situation.

      I do know that since I planted those Cherokee Tan pumpkins that took over my entire garden area 2 yrs ago & the year before, I started having massive issues with the Squash vine borers. They also LOVE Cherokee Tan Pumpkins and devoured every one of my plants this year. I’m wondering if those Cherokee Tan pumpkins drew so many of the vine borer’s & since the vines were EVERYWHERE, they got in my soil (where they overwinter as a cocoon & emerge in late spring) so I am battling a major infestation of those pests? I intend to check the tubs & raised beds where I had the worst problems with squash borers to try to find the cocoons & destroy them. They are a brownish color 2-3 inches below in the soil. Worth a try to do that as well as use Dr Bloom Danny uses.

      I have also noticed Danny hasn’t planted any more of the Cherokee Tan’s lately. They were trying another variety this year that were struggling with our crazy weather. I love just over the AL/MS line from them.

      • DeepSouthBamaGRITS

        Member
        November 16, 2022 at 7:14 pm

        Sorry, I meant to say Dr. Earths Liquid Phosphorus fertilizer.

  • South

    Member
    December 14, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    Squash is one of my favorites and I have grown it for over 20 years now. I read a long time ago that planting tall plants like corn or sunflower seeds in your squash hill kind of confuses the moth and they don’t see it as a squash plant. I have to say I have done that for many years and have not had issues with borers. Squash bugs are another deal all together and the only good solution I know is to plant your cucurbits really late which I have a hard time having that kind of self control.

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