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 for 2 years in a row.
  • Before or at the time of planting, apply NemaSeek (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 adults with Sticky Traps.
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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