Squash Borers

This year we’re concentrating on the health of the squash plants. Last year, we lost all the squash plants to squash bugs and squash borers.
The borers are the larvae of a wasp-like insect. For more information, click here.
We have waged an all out war, and so far we have baby squash, but it’s an everyday job.  I keep a bucket of soapy water in the garden and pick the bugs and let them go for a swim.  Then we put yellow bowls with water in them, around the squash plants, because the borers go for the color apparently and drown themselves.  So far we’re staying ahead of all the unwanted visitors.  And I must say this is the first year I’ve had a hard time finding yellow bowls.  Either they are in big demand, or the color is not “in” this year.


Update – June 2017

Borers and squash bugs have been plaguing our crop for a couple years.  So, this year we got really serious.  We planted late to help avoid some of the early bugs.  And we started using Bt (Thuricide).  It is consistent with organic gardening.  When the stems get large enough, we inject Bt into the stem, to kill (borer) larval stage.  For added assurance, I spray around the stems at least twice a week.


  1. Kelly ODonoghue says:

    I realize this is an older post but did it end up helping? Did you notice if the bowls worked for cucumber beetle? I have lost all of my cucumbers and zucchini the past 3 years to cucumber beetles and a ready to give up. I have handpicked twice daily, added praying mantis, tried DE and Neem. I am desperate. I am the only gardener I know begging for zucchini.

    1. Lanie Fioretti says:

      Kelly, we’ve been plagued with squash bugs and borers for the past couple years, so I’ve been begging also! We had a little success with the bowls, but not enough to get good production. This year, I’m waiting until the beginning of June to plant. Supposedly, it’s the end of the beetle cycle, and you stand a better chance of beating them. I usually carry a bucket with soapy water, hand pick the adults, and throw them in the bucket. Any leaves that have eggs on them, get destroyed. On a solitary plant, I had good luck spraying it with just soapy water, every (early) morning, or late evening. To help control the borer problem, I’m wrapping stems of squash plants, in pieces of nylon stockings. Let me know if you find something that works really well for you.

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