If you've planted a garden this year, you might notice small brown spots developing on pumpkin leaves. Maybe some of the leaves have turned completely brown and died. This is an indicator of the presence of the squash bug.
The squash bug is a major insect pest of squash and pumpkin plants in the U.S., and can be difficult to control. Adults are half to three quarters of an inch long and grayish to dark brown. Orange and brown strips are visible on the bug's abdomen.
Symptoms of Attack
Squash bugs feed on the sap of host plants. Attacked leaves will develop yellow spots that turn brown. The leaf may eventually become completely brown and die. If stems are attacked, the vine will wilt from the point of the attack outward and die.
According to Michigan State University Extension, a heavy infestation of squash bugs will cause severe damage and may cause fruit to become disfigured or to collapse.
Treatment with Sevin, Rotenone, Pyrethrum or Diazinon insecticide is necessary at egg hatching stage and during early flowering if the squash bug is to be controlled.
Other Methods of Treatment
The University of Minnesota recommends placing boards at the base of plants. Squash bugs will hide under them at night, and can be found and destroyed each morning. Keep plants properly fertilized and watered, and clean all debris around the plants.
- Michigan State University Extension Integrated Pest Management Program: The squash bug: A major insect pest of pumpkins and squash
- University of Minnesota: Squash Bug
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Leslie Lane has been a freelance writer, ghostwriter and author since 2007. Her areas of expertise include personality, mental health, gardening, crafts, health, relationships and natural remedies.