Beware, Squash Bugs!!

Well, with  the rains, warmer temps, and the many helping hands of my children and our intern, our vegetable garden is almost back on track this year.  I’m beginning to see tiny yellow squash, little bitty tomatoes,  and climbing beans.

Yes, we will have a harvest this summer, it may just be a little bit later than the rest of you who actually got your seeds in on time 🙂

As every gardener knows, when the veggies start to show up on the plants, so do the bad bugs!  My personal nemesis?  That darn Squash bug!  It’s a daily chore now to remove rows of eggs from the squash plants.  And the bigger the plants get, the harder it is to see those eggs.

Without spraying my plants to death with some insecticide, I’m really trying to rely on organic means.  So I squish those Squash bugs with my hands as I comb the plants looking for eggs.

And yesterday while I was looking for new bugs in my garden, I spotted this guy on my squash plant.

At first, it looked like a miniature Deer fly.  Not being sure, I took a bunch of pictures to bring back to my computer.

He was very cooperative and let me get very close – he never left!

I worked the photo in i-photo and cropped the picture to a close up.  Makes it easier to see the smaller details that differentiate one fly from another.

This time, the photo looked exactly like the one in my bug book!!

It’s a Tachina Fly.  He’s my hero when it comes to Squash bugs 🙂

Let me introduce you to one of my new best friends in the garden…

Food: Adult may drink nectar.  (remember those flowers in the garden??)

Larva is internal parasite of true bugs.

Life cycle: Adults mate near flowers.  (umm, reminder about flowers in the garden 🙂 )  Females attach eggs to medium-sized to large true bugs.  Larvae enter host, feeding first on less essential tissues and later killing host.  Those maturing in autumn pupate inside the host, emerging as adults in spring; others pupate in soil, emerging summer of fall.

The tachinid fly is often encouraged for biological control of squash bugs, stink bugs, leaf-footed bugs, cotton stainers, and other plant bugs.

So beware Squash bug!!  My Tachina Flies are looking for you…!

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3 Responses to “Beware, Squash Bugs!!”

  1. Dave Green Says:

    Nice to see the tach fly helping you. There are a lot of insects that are a big help in the garden. Soldier bugs are another that are not widely known. My yard is practically overrun by assassin bugs, mainly Zelus, but there’s at least two other species, along with an occasional wheel bug.

    I have one zuchinni plant with squash bugs, though I have zukes and yellow squash in several places. One notable difference, is that the zuke with squash bugs is the only one that is not surrounded by marigolds. Most of my raised beds are concrete blocks and the marigolds are planted in the block holes. This bed used some sheet metal I had, and there was no room for marigolds.

    I have always heard that marigolds repel pests. We shall see if they go to the ones with marigolds. I squished all the eggs and nymphs that I could spot, but the mama was too fast and got away from me.

    The marigolds did not help with squash borers, however. All my older squash now have them, and I play around with a sharp knife trying to eliminate them. Time will tell. It’s not a crisis, as I’ve already harvested a lot, and I have younger plants coming on as well.

  2. Dave Green Says:

    I said soldier bugs – meant soldier beetles. My wife is afraid I will get Altzheimers, but then again, how would you tell?

  3. caravinson Says:

    Your garden is absolutely beautiful! It’s what’s in my mind when I plan my garden. Right now I’m limited to containers and one small bed, but soon I’ll be studying your photos!

    Awesome work!

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