Hardiness Zone: 5a
Candace from Charlotte, MI
Does this look like your bug?
Source: University of Illinois
If so, you're dealing with Squash bugs. In both the adult and the nymph form, these insects suck the plant's juices, which causes the leaves and young shoots to turn black and die. The symptoms are similar to those of a wilt disease, and if infestations are severe the plant will fail to produce or die altogether.
You can protect your plants by covering them with floating row covers (you'll need to hand pollinate) or by setting out boards or shingles on the ground near your plants in early summer to trap and remove the bugs by hand.
Another strategy is to plant disease resistant plants that are bred to better withstand attacks. Some resistant cultivars include 'Butternut', 'Early Golden Bush Scallop', 'Early Summer Crookneck', 'Table Queen', 'Improved Green Hubbard', and 'Royal Acorn' among others. Ask you county extension agent for resistant varieties in your area.
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
Here are the recent answer to this question.
By Kathy Callahan 11/24/2007
This is great for squash but what about the gourds. Are there varities to plant that will withstad these little creepers?
By Sara C 09/03/2006
Check out this site: http://www.oznet.k-state.edu/hfrr/hnewslet/2001/ksht0127.htm and scroll down to "Squash Bugs" at the bottom. There are several other pages on a Google Search that look promising. I hope you can get rid of these bugs! They look icky.
Add your voice to the conversation. Click here to answer this question.