Earlier this month we had an article that featured a beautiful squash blossom in the morning sun. Today we’re going to talk about the darker side of squash: Squash Bugs.

If you don’t like stink bugs, and who does, you’re going to really hate these bugs that resemble them. If you grow squash or pumpkins, you’re going to really hate them.

Their Latin name is Anasa tristis. Here’s a little background from the website planetnatural:

Adults (5/8 inch long) are dark brown or gray in color which keeps them well camouflaged around plants. Known as true bugs, they have a hard shell with a long shield-like shape, two pairs of wings, and sucking mouthparts that originate from the tips of their head. Spider-like nymphs (1/10 inch long) are voracious and feed together in clusters or groups. When young they are whitish green or gray in color with red heads, legs and antennae. As they mature, they become grayish-white with dark legs.

Lovely. Well, now that you know what they are, what can you do about them”

You can prevent infestation by covering the young plants and seedlings with row covers until their ready to pollinate. Once they’ve arrived, organic options are limited. You can try putting wooden boards out near the plants. The bugs will collect underneath overnight and can then be squished in the morning. You can also remove the adults by hand or use a shop vac with water in the bottom of it.

Once the plants are beyond help, either remove them from the garden or roto-till them to prevent overwintering.

Like nearly every plant in the garden, squash can be challenging. Don’t get discouraged, just plan on doing something different next year.

And, if you’re having problems with squash or have any other gardening questions, stop by the gardens for some guidance or at least commiseration.