Squash Vine Borer

Squash Vine Borer Control

The squash vine borer is a common and destructive pest of squash, pumpkins, zucchini and gourds. Cucumbers, melons and butternut squash are not generally affected by squash borers. The borers over-winter in soil as pupae and emerge mid-summer.

How to Control Squash Vine Borers: Organic methods of control include a mixture of cultural and prevention activities as well as actions to reduce infestations. The key to controlling an outbreak is to catch the infestation early; products for treatment are shown below. Methods of control include:

  • Plant squash as early as possible. Try to plant resistant varieties such as butternut squash.
  • Rotate crops – do not grow squash in the same area in consecutive years.
  • Before or at the time of planting, apply NemaSeek/Nemattack Combo (Hb/Sc) of beneficial nematodes to the soil to eliminate over-wintering pupae.
  • Use floating row covers on seedlings to exclude the adults.
  • Apply Bacillus thurengiensis kurstaki or Spinosad during the growing season. These can be applied as a spray or injected directly into the stem of the plant.
  • Trap the adult squash vine borer moths with Sticky Traps. Trapping is helpful when monitoring pest populations early in the season, setting thresholds during the season, and reducing eggs laid throughout the season.
For more information please see our Borer Control page.

Photo courtesy of Clemson University Department of Entomology, Soils & Plant Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service.

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