My zucchini is being eaten by some kind of worm coming up through the main root, killing the plant and then moves on to the next. What can be done?
Hardiness Zone: 5a
Susan from Leon, Iowa
It sounds like you're dealing with Squash vine borers. Signs include vines that suddenly wilt and die, and you can usually see signs of girdling and yellowish castings from borer holes at the base of stems. Adult moths have narrow, olive-brown forewings, clear hindwings and a red abdomen with black rings. There are also long, reddish fringes on the hind legs. The larvae (borers) look like white grubs with a brown head and are about 1 inch long. They bore into the vines of squash-family plants and eat the inner tissue, filling up the stems with castings and causing the vines to collapse. The larvae or pupae overwinter in the soil, emerging as adults around the time the vines start to lengthen. The adults then lay eggs on the stems or leaf stalks near the base of the plants, and when the eggs hatch the larvae bore into the vines to feed. There is usually only one generation of borers per year (two in the south), which lasts about 4-6 weeks until the larvae return to the soil for winter.
Here are some suggestions for controlling them organically:
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