Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Insect Activity This Week

Insect activity in the garden can be good, and it can be unwelcome, depending on the insect. This weekend, I made the first sighting of the season of a most unwelcome moth, the squash vine borer. She is pretty, but her babies devour the insides of squash vines, eventually leading to the demise of the plants.

Squash vine borer adult. The red can be viewed as a warning to gardeners!

Flies aren't usually considered to be the most welcome of insects, but plenty of flies are pollinators. I have been seeing flies on my parsnip flowers, and they seem to be helping the plants set seed. Look close to find the flies.
Not all flies indicate that something has died.
These squash bug eggs (below) were on a plant at a local community garden. It is time to scout for these bad boys, if the scouting (and removal) hasn't already begun. Squash bugs can become so numerous that they weaken the plants, and they can spread disease among the squash plants. These eggs are hard to smash, but tearing out the bit of leaf they are on, to be bagged for the landfill, works to keep these from hatching in the garden.
Squash bug eggs are usually on the undersides of leaves, but these were right on top and easy to spot.
The bee inside the blossom below was so frenetically busy that its legs look all crazy in this picture, but that bee-frenzy helps pollinate the plants, so we can have more good squash.
Wild bee-party for one inside a big squash blossom.
Out in gardens recently, I've also seen squash beetles, Mexican bean beetles, numerous pollinators, slugs (we've had enough rain to bring them out), and more. What have other gardeners been seeing?


  1. Thanks for the info and tip on the squash bugs. I wasn't sure of the best way to tackle them. I'll just pull off the leaves and feed to the pigs.

  2. I had a number of aphids in my garden early on, mostly on the cucumbers and a few on the squash. I purchased some insecticidal soap, but ended up not needing it. As the plants grew, they seemed to be able to fend off the bugs themselves, and now I don't have any. Unfortunately, I'm not seeing many pollinators. Our squash production is suffering as a result, since they keep shriveling up. I hope to plant some other flowers to attract more bees soon.

    1. Aphids really like that succulent new growth, but usually once the ladybugs find them in my garden their days are numbered. If your squash patch isn't too large you can be the bee yourself. Pick a male squash flower, pull off the petals, and use the pollen-covered anther-part to pollinate female flowers. Hope you get more squash soon!

    2. I've considered that, and will give that a try in the next couple weeks. I also plan to plant a number of bee-attracting flowers (and hopefully get into beekeeping some day.)


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