Should have known better than to make that post about not seeing much bug pests this year!
So today I was out watering, which I haven't had to do much all season. One of the beds in back (where it is really too shady) has tomatoes, peppers, squash, celery (I really need to either get some trees taken down or give up on growing full sun stuff back there). Since I haven't been watering, I haven't been paying much attention. I didn't grow any zucchini this year, because of the vine borers. The squash has been growing and fruiting well. But lo and behold, it is swarming with squash bugs AND they have spread onto the tomato and pepper plants that are right next to it. I stomped a bunch and I found a bunch of leaves with eggs on them and smushed those. But they just kept coming and coming. I didn't pay enough attention and didn't find the problem soon enough, because there were a whole bunch of off-white juveniles in a range of sizes, so some of those eggs must have hatched out already. After I got creeped out trying to find them and stomp them I went and made some super potent spray.
It is basic garlic pepper spray with the addition of tomato leaves (deadly nightshade), nicotiana leaves (tobacco/ nicotine), and chrysanthemum (pyrethrins). Blend everything up with water, strain, dilute, add a few drops of soap and a few drops of oil, spray. It's the first time this season, I have sprayed anything but water. I did see a praying mantis and some kind of little grasshopper-y thing, and tried not to spray them, but they clearly weren't keeping up with the squash bug population explosion. The squash bugs clearly didn't like it, but it didn't really kill them unless they got kind of drowned in it. I will check back tomorrow and see if I succeeded in reducing the numbers. If not, I think everything in that bed is not too long for this world. I had noticed holes in the pepper plant leaves, but assumed that was slugs. But having seen a bunch of the squash bugs congregated on it, I think they are probably the culprits.
I really hate trying to grow squash. I thought avoiding the summer squash would take care of it, but they are just too attractive to pests. I think I give up totally!