Squash bugs!

Bill Shoemaker wshoemak at inil.com
Wed Jul 31 08:52:10 EDT 2002

This conversation on squash bug is interesting. The bug is a big problem in Illinois for anyone who grows pumpkins or squash (winter or summer). The adults overwinter and will propagate juveniles quickly, which will feed on the plant by sucking juices. They cause damage by sheer numbers, debilitating the plants over time. Non-organic growers use insecticides, which have limited value but a couple of which will kill the juveniles. But the suggestion of a vacuum was a good one. It reminded my of "Bug-Vac", a piece of equipment developed in California a number of years ago which used a huge, tractor mounted vacuum system and canvassed the tops of rows of strawberries. It was generic, sucking up anything that couldn't hold on. But it was very good on Lygus species, of which Squash Bug is one. I'm not sure how well it would work on pumpkins or squash but there may be a kernel of an opportunity here, especially when you realize that it's only with large populations that the insect does much damage. Perhaps there's an opportunity for someone to develop a system for squash bugs, particularly for summer squash.

Bill Shoemaker
Sr Research Specialist, Food Crops
Univ of Illinois - St Charles Hort Research Center
  Last year, and this all depends if you've got electricity close or a very long extension cord, we strung an extention cord to the gardin and using a hand held like tube vaccum we sucked those bugs right up. One person held the cord and vaccum and the other vaccumed and lifted the plants. We were so infested and nothing touched this wave of bugs but after that we did not have any more problem.  Kim in Ky 
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