The adult squash bug (Anasa tristis) measures 1.4 to 1.6 cm in length and is dark grayish brown in color. Adults can live 75 to 130 days, depending on availability and quality of food. This is a picture of a pair of mating squash bugs I took recently (before destroying the pair).
1 jalapeno pepper
1 small onion
6 cloves of garlic
1 Tblsp. liquid dish soap
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. neem oil
1 qt. warm water
You can either finely chop the pepper, onion, and garlic, or use your food processor or blender. Place these in a quart jar, add baking soda and neem oil, then add the water. Add the soap last to avoid a sudsy mess (I learned the hard way- LOL). Put the lid on and shake gently to mix everything together and let sit for 24 to 48 hours. Strain out the solids (I use a fine mesh coffee filter) and pour the liquid into a handheld sprayer.
I take the sprayer with me every time I go out to the garden, but I only spray when I see the bugs. I don't want to just douse all the plants because I'll also end up inadvertently killing beneficial insects. I try not to spray the blossoms or the growing tips either because these are tender parts of the plant and might get damaged by the spray. I also want to encourage pollinators, so I don't want the smell of the spray on the flowers to drive them away. I only spray when I have to; even though this is a safe and natural control method, less is usually better. If I can I'll simply cut off a leaf with all the nymphs on it and feed it to the chickens. If you're careful the nymphs will stay right on the leaf, and removing the leaf won't harm the plant.
I've had great success using these methods, and although there are still squash bugs in the garden, they're not causing nearly the amount of damage they would have if I hadn't been so vigilant from the beginning of the season. I hope these tips and the recipe are helpful for you as well. Another bonus is that if you grow your own garlic, onions, and hot peppers like I do then your cost is fairly minimal.
~Michelle of CreativeCritters
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