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Worms Killing My Zucchini

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I have white worms eating my zucchini. The vegetable, not the leaves and rest of the plant. It is plain white about an inch long. No legs or any markings, turning vegetable "mushy". Thanks.

Hardiness Zone: 5a

By rhonda21 from Sparta, MI

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By Linda [1]08/11/2009

In your situation I would try garlic powder. It is not poison to eat. So it won't poison the plant for eating. Most insects don't like garlic. If you use garlic salt, some of the salt may eat some of the leaves.

Some people plant garlic in between their garden plants just to control pests.

We have slugs this year. One lady I know puts beer in a lid of a jar, and the slugs go to it and drown.

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Archive: Worms Killing My Zucchini

By Ellen Brown

Question:

I have planted zucchini and the plants are beautiful and flowering like mad but now that the zucchini is coming on it is starting to die from some kind of worm coming up through the root and it is killing the plants. What can I do to rid my garden of these destructive worms?

Hardiness Zone: 5a

bshale from Leon, Iowa

Answer:

bshale,

Sounds like you have Squash Vine Borers. In the larvae or caterpillar stage, they are white with a dark head. They hatch from eggs laid in the soil by wasp-like moths, and then tunnel into stalks and leaf stems to feed. As they tunnel along eating the inner tissues of the plant, they push brown-colored waste out their entrance holes. The boring restricts the flow of water and nutrients to the plants and weakens their physical structure. In some cases, vigorous plants are able to survive the attack if the borer population is limited, but unfortunately, this is seldom the case.

Here are a number of organic methods for controlling them in the garden:

Trying to save infested plants:

  1. Carefully slit open infested stems and remove the borer with a tweezers, and pack dirt around the slit.
  2. Use a medicine dropper to inject infested vines with parasitic nematodes.
  3. At the first sign of trouble, cut out and destroy infected stems or whole plants to reduce spreading.

To control them in the garden:

  1. Interplant garlic and onion with zucchini.
  2. Plow crops under in the fall to destroy pupae.
  3. Release trichogramma (tiny wasps used for biological control) to attack borer eggs in soil.
  4. Use pheromone traps for adult moths.
  5. Use the proper variety of parasitic nematode as mulch around plants.
  6. Cover vines with floating row covers early in the season (you'll need to hand-pollinate).
  7. Plant early or very late to avoid the main egg-laying season.
  8. Plant borer tolerant cultivars.
  9. Clean up debris around the garden in the fall to reduce areas where they can overwinter.

Good luck!
Ellen

About The Author: Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com


RE: Worms Killing My Zucchini

I am also in zone 5a. Sounds like cutworms. I have learned to plant my zucchini with a soup can size peat pot around it. I cut out the bottom of it so the plant can grow. This keeps the cutworms from getting to the stem and root. You may want to dig around the already growing plants a bit and use some kind of barrier that is at least 3-4 inches deep. (06/27/2006)

By jcs523

RE: Worms Killing My Zucchini

I have had past problems with borers attacking my squash plants when they are in full bloom. They bore into the hollow stems and kill the plants. Go to a nursery, garden center, or coop. They i'll tell you what you need, whether you go organic or not. Don't put it off too long, or you may lose your plants. (06/27/2006)

By susanmajp

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