Want an easy, cheap way how to kill squash bugs, their nymphs, & eggs? Organically control the leaf-footed beetle pests in your garden with this method!
Most of us who are growing a garden right now can commiserate with one another over the persistent problem of squash bugs (otherwise known as leaf-footed beetles or stink bugs) ravaging our summer squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and winter squash! Well, today I’m going to show you how to kill squash bugs! This awesome garden hack is a total game-changer!
Until now, we’ve been doing one-on-one battle trying to kill squash bugs (adults).
And it’s not an easy battle to win!
For the gardener growing organically, rather naturally (not wanting to use even organic pesticides to upset the natural balance of the soil or inadvertently harm the beneficial insect population), this means lots of picking and squishing or drowning of the adults.
But the tables are about to turn and our problem is about to grow exponentially because it’s squash bug hatching season!
The few wily ones that have outwitted us have been laying their beautiful, jewel-like, golden or ruby squash bug eggs on the underside of the host plants leaves and they are getting ready to hatch. In fact, where yesterday there were none, today I found several batches had hatched.
How To Kill Squash Bugs, Squash Bug Eggs, and Nymphs
Kill Squash Bug Eggs & Nymphs
Last year, I picked the squash eggs off pumpkins with fingernails, getting the eggs stuck under them and often tearing the leaves in the process. My plan for this year was to be on the lookout for the soft-bodied nymphs and squish them as they hatched.
But this morning while chopping potatoes for frying to serve with some scrambled eggs, I listened to a podcast (now defunct) where the lady mentioned that her method of organic control is managing the eggs with a roll of duct tape!!
I dropped my oily spoon and ran for the barn, grabbed the duct tape, and headed to the garden where I experienced the genius of this idea for myself!
This morning alone I saved my plants from literally hundreds of these little monsters and myself from hours of picking! It was truly shocking- and the ones on the pumpkins in with the corn… I would never have found all of those nymphs. Not in a million years.
I feel like I may have stopped this cycle dead in its tracks with less than an hour’s work.
Tips for Killing Squash Bug Eggs
• It is trickier to get the eggs when they have been laid in a corner of the large veins, so I got what I could and the few remaining I picked off with a fingernail.
• Be gentle. Some of the pumpkins had soft leaves and a bit of the leaf came off with the eggs. Not much and not often.
• If you see a squash beetle adult, nab her! I tapped the tape to her back and she was stuck. I folded the tape piece around her and she wasn’t going anywhere.
• Ditto for the cucumber beetles. If you happen to see one of them, tap it on their back. I think that’s the quickest way I’ve dealt with those guys so far.
Kill Squash Bug Adults
Until now, the most successful way that I’ve managed our infestation was to mist down the plants with a little peppermint oil diluted in a sprayer of water or using Rhubarb Leaf Pest Spray. It acts more of a temporary repellent and you have to do it frequently to give your plants a fighting chance.
Another way to kill the adult squash bugs (and perhaps the cucumber beetles) dead on the spot is to use a biodegradable detergent dish soap. The soap works by suffocating the beetle within moments. It worked wonderfully for the squash bugs, But not so much for the cucumber beetles. That’s ok because I prefer to remove the beetle from the plant before spraying it. I want to make certain the plant isn’t affected in any way and cucumber beetles will fly before allowing that to happen.
The duct tape trick works well to kill squash bug adults too. When you tap them with the tape they stick right to it! (Though I do pinch the tape around them to make sure they don’t fall off.)
Hand Held Vacuum Cleaner
An alternative to duct tape for nymphs and adults would be to get yourself a handheld vacuum cleaner. It’s a lot safer than squishing and works well for catching the ones that almost got away! A hand-held vacuum also is great for other garden pests like Cucumber Beetle, Asparagus Beetles, Mexican Bean Beetles, Colorado Potato Beetles, and more!
One final, long-term, goal would be to encourage your garden to become a diverse habitat. A place where predators like frogs and toads can become your greatest allies in the war against the pests!
With a little diligence using these tricks to kill squash bugs, my garden plants have a fighting chance! And I hope that yours will now too!
How is your squash beetle war going?