And so it begins for another year...my battle with the dreaded squash bugs! We have been mortal enemies for many years now. They are devil bugs and for some reason, where I live they are terrible! If you have never encountered these creatures, count yourself lucky. They have made many a lesser gardener shrink and shrug in dismay! You don't know they exist until a plant is just mysteriously dead! You can be happily gardening along and then BAM, all your squash plants are wilted and dying! It always happens about mid July and if I don't get a handle on the situation, they will destroy every squash and pumpkin plant I have. You might say...quit being so dramatic and just spray them! But as an organic gardener I choose not to. (I tried spraying them with some hefty insecticide in my early gardening years and the huge amount I used didn't even make them duck for cover, let a lone kill them, so I decided to try other ways of destroying them. Now I don't usually think of myself as such a cold hearted person, but I must say I really like disposing of these blasted things. (I'm like a squash bug hit woman!) In my garden I'm usually okay with a few insects eating my fresh veggies, as long as I get teh majority of the food, but when they are killing my plants before I even get a single squash...I find that unacceptable! So what do I do? Search and destroy! They are stealthy bugs, are super egg layers, and really good at reproducing in ridiculous numbers. They are fast, great at hiding and hard to kill. My favorite is to hand pick them and drown them in vegetable oil. I know this might sound heartless, but you must understand, we have a long history of them utterly destroying my endless hours of tilling, planting, weeding in a single day. So when it comes to squash bugs, I have no mercy! I feel like the Sensai from the original Karate Kid movie!! I hand pick the adults I see and drown them in oil, (I would get more satisfaction from smashing them, but I have heard that this will only attract more squash bugs because when you smash them they have a very strong "squashy" smell and I am taking no chances of inviting more!) I look for eggs and remove them too. (Greatly reducing their future population.) I let my chickens forage through the squash, I have found them to be the best eradication program, however you must know that this has it's own problem, (chickens like tomatoes and other yummies in the garden so keep them confined to the squash!) So you may ask, do my efforts work? Well usually, if I keep at it and not relent, I can get the squash I so desperately desire, but get complacent or ignorant and the poor squash plants pay the price! Sorry, I must go, I have squash bugs to kill!!
The culprit, my mortal enemy on a zucchini! (I know you expected them to be bigger, uglier, scarier and carry swords!)
Their dreaded spawn!
The complete and utter destruction!