|Squash beetles look a lot like pale ladybugs.|
My camera hasn't wanted to focus on the little beetles, so the picture at the right is a bit fuzzy, but if you imagine a "washed out" looking ladybug, with seven spots on each side of its body, and it is eating a plant in the the squash/cucumber family, then you pretty much have a good picture in your mind.
The pattern of damage on the leaves is distinctive. According to Purdue U.:
|Squash beetles snip an arched line around their feeding spots.|
A study at University of Delaware showed that this feeding characteristic reduces the influx of chemical defenses from the injured plant to the entrenched tissues, thereby preserving the leaf tissue's suitability for feeding.
Moreover, the larvae only feed on the tissue between veins on the underside of the leaves, leaving the upper surface more or less intact. As a result, their feeding gives the injured leaf a characteristic lace-like skeletonized appearance on the upper surface."
Hunting squash beetles to smash is easiest and most productive in the middle of a sunny day, when they are most active, but I have been scouting for beetles (and then smashing them) after I get home from work, after walking the dog and tending the bunnies, while I am in the garden to harvest beans.
There will be more zucchini coming to the kitchen over the next couple of days, and Joe and I are both snitching black raspberries off the canes while we are out in the yard. When the Heritage red raspberries start to ripen, we will begin to have enough berries to bring inside before eating them (there aren't many black raspberry plants in the yard).
Blackberries are all still green, but they also are looking good.
I hope all the other gardens out there are producing well and are untroubled by pests!