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Gardeners, 'tis the season of the squash beetle (epilachna borealis). This gal...

SQUASH BEETLE

SQUASH BEETLE

This bug is no lady, so don't be fooled by her lookalike appearance. If you are growing squash of any kind (or melons), she is public enemy #1.


What to do? The most effective approach is to search for and kill as many as you can. Just grab the little buggers and give them what they came for... a squash, right between the thumb and index finger.

If you don't, they'll leave these bright-colored eggs, which, if you're too late for the bug-kill, you should scrape off with a fingernail.

SQUASH BEETLE EGGS

SQUASH BEETLE EGGS


Failing that, your enemy will turn into one of these hairy critters that will pick up right where mom left off, chomping leaves with impunity.

SQUASH BEETLE LARVA

SQUASH BEETLE LARVA


SQUASH PLANT DESTROYED BY SQUASH BEETLES AND THEIR LARVAE

SQUASH PLANT DESTROYED BY SQUASH BEETLES AND THEIR LARVAE

This is what it looks like when you've lost the battle with the squash beetle. Look closely and you can see half a dozen or more larvae still chomping away on this already-devastated plant.

This plant was removed, but the larvae had already migrated to other non-squash plants in the bed.


Of course, there are insecticides and other sprays we could use, but by far the best defense is spot, squash and scrape.