tedln
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Insecticide for squash vine borer?

I think I read on this forum recently about an organic insecticide that is widely used and is very effective for squash vine borers. The post said the product is used by organic gardeners because it is a natural insecticide made from a common soil bacteria. I can't locate the post with a forum search. The post said the product was also harmful to bees, but if it is sprayed in the evening and allowed to dry overnight, it will not hurt the bees; and will remain effective against squash vine borer beetles and larvae for about three weeks.

Does anyone else remember the post and possibly the name of the product?

Ted
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Duh_Vinci
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I don't remember the thread, but, I too want to know if such product exists. Plenty of damage in the late last summer to the squash due to the squash vine borers.

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D

cynthia_h
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I haven't used neem against squash vine borers, but I *do* apply it late in the afternoon to minimize harm to honeybees and other pollinators.

Could it be neem that you were thinking of?

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garden5
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Man, I couldn't find that thread, either, but I think that I did find your answer.

[url=https://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=804&bhcd2=1264948859]Read this[/url] until you get to the part about Btk, it's a special form of the Bt bacteria.

Here is a [url=https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/squash_pest.pdf]great resource[/url] on the squash vine borer.

Good luck with the squash this year.
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rainbowgardener
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spinosad , organic insecticide

No, spinosad is not a variety of Bt, it's a toxin produced by a different bacterium.

Here's the thread you were looking for:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=105199&highlight=#105199

But if you type squash vine borer or zucchini root borer in Search the Forum, you will find lots of stuff written here.

Here's one:

https://www.helpfulgardener.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=107805&highlight=squash+borer#107805

People are saying if you use floating row covers and/or wrap the stems in tin foil, the borers won't be able to get to them. That's what I'm going to try this year (I usually don't get zucchini because of the borers).

tedln
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rainbowgardener,

Thanks! That is the post I was looking for. I had searched the forum but could not locate it.

I haven't decided if I want to try it yet. I don't even know what it's availability is. I plan on trying the row covers first. I have to leave them off long enough for the bees to pollinate the blooms in the morning. It seems they are usually finished by 10:30 in the mornings. I usually don't see the squash vine borer beetles until the hotter part of the day. I would like to try the aluminum foil on the stems, but my plants usually attain five feet in length. I can't imagine covering that much vine with foil.

The past two years, I've grown the Burpee Pic&Pic hybrid crook neck summer squash. It has displayed good resistance to the borers and produced well through the summer. This year, I plan on trying two varieties which are new to me and I want to be prepared if they can't handle to borers.

Ted
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rainbowgardener
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I think to stay ahead of pests like these, we have to get smart about dealing with their life cycles.

In the second link I posted is this:

Squash vine borers overwinter as larvae or pupae in the soil. Adult moths emerge in the spring and deposit eggs on a host plant.

That makes me think that just the row covers wouldn't be enough, because what if they emerge under the row cover? However it also seems like at least here in the north ("Generally, only one generation per year is produced in northern states, two generations in many southern states." ) by mid summer most of the danger would be past and you could remove the row cover and let them get pollinated naturally. In the meantime you can hand pollinate.

I also don't think you would have to worry about wrapping the whole length. The base of the stem near the soil is what they always attack. If you wrapped the first six inches or so (I've never done this before, but I'm planning to start a little below soil level), should be fine.

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gixxerific
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Along with tin foil around the plants you can cut a square of cardboard Or something similar with a slit in it to fit around the base of the plant will protect from them, or was that the Cabbage Root fly. I would think it would work for both. I should read the links supplied here. But the premise for this is if the flys can't lay lat their eggs their is no problem so preventive is ALWAYS better than taking care of the problem later with pesticides either organic or chemical.

Not sure if it is the same can't find anything. Best thing to do is crop rotation since the larvae are in the soil. Companion planting might help as well they don't like radishes, nasturtiums, mints or marigolds etc.

[url=https://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/squash_pest.html]Here[/url] is a great link with a bunch of info on these pest. It is important to understand their life cycle for proper control or eradication. Timing is everything.

My pumpkins did horrible last year, I will plant again this year along with zucchini but not together.

tedln
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In the conversations on squash vine borers, it seems to be the consensus that by interrupting the life cycle, we can prevent the damage. Most people seem to believe the insects which lay the eggs producing the larvae which harm the plants came up from the ground around their plants. The first year I planted my beds (three years ago), huge swarms of the insects would arrive just before sunset from the forests around my home. None of them were born in my garden and I didn't have another garden within a mile of my garden. I don't know where they were coming from, but they were not coming from my garden. It seemed to me, I could only protect my plants from an invasive insect rather than worry about interrupting it's life cycle.

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Organic mulch (e.g. 1/2 finished compost, leaves, and straw) --> encourages earthworms --> encourages moles --> moles eat earthworms and squash vine borer larvae/pupae? Earthworms and moles are active WAY before the moth pupae -- they're wimps and won't emerge until the soil is good and warm.
... viable solution?
I know some people think moles are pests, but they're welcome in my garden. :flower:

Oh, this won't work for your raised beds over concrete, rainbow..... :|

Sound of trickling/running water attracts Robins to your garden. How about scratch up the mulched area, exposing soil and worms, birds descend to gobble up worms and squash vine borer larvae/pupae? :twisted:

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gixxerific
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When I say life cycle I mean watch out for when the moths are about and laying eggs. If you can stop that you have already won the battle thing is by the time you realize the borers are there it's usually too late. So as the saying goes an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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rainbowgardener
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Well mainly only the tomatoes and peppers and whatever is companion planted with them are in the beds over concrete. But I've never seen any evidence of moles in any of the other parts of the garden either. Plenty of earthworms though, since they get added all the time with the compost.

The adults flying in from elsewhere are what the row cover is for. I think it will take a combination of the row cover and the stem wrapping. At least that's what I'm going to try this year.

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My SVB Battle Plan for next season: Switch to mostly moschatas in garden & plant Hubbards at other end of property as trap crop to be tilled & burned later. Try Zucchetta Rampicante too. Wrap stems with whatever (tin foil, stockings, fabric). Intercrop hills with clover or something dense that'll prevent air access to the stem. (Radishes are rec'd for that too.) Set up more bird perches in row. Paint stems with a thick layer of latex paint & joint compound mix- 1:1 ratio. (Old school is wetting & sprinkling wood ash regularly, building up a crust.) Succession plant zukes. Appreciate Crooknecks more. Till before & after harvest to expose pupas. (I painstakingly dug every hill last season after harvest, and didn't find one pupa!) Keep net handy. And razor blade & hemostats, BT & syringe, & a small hand mirror for stem inspection. Cross fingers. Prepare for battle!

tedln
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nedwina wrote:My SVB Battle Plan for next season: Switch to mostly moschatas in garden & plant Hubbards at other end of property as trap crop to be tilled & burned later. Try Zucchetta Rampicante too. Wrap stems with whatever (tin foil, stockings, fabric). Intercrop hills with clover or something dense that'll prevent air access to the stem. (Radishes are rec'd for that too.) Set up more bird perches in row. Paint stems with a thick layer of latex paint & joint compound mix- 1:1 ratio. (Old school is wetting & sprinkling wood ash regularly, building up a crust.) Succession plant zukes. Appreciate Crooknecks more. Till before & after harvest to expose pupas. (I painstakingly dug every hill last season after harvest, and didn't find one pupa!) Keep net handy. And razor blade & hemostats, BT & syringe, & a small hand mirror for stem inspection. Cross fingers. Prepare for battle!
I love it. I'm only planning for a skirmish. I know the war will continue after my small efforts. Others are planning for a battle. Nedwina is planning for an all out, full scale, take no prisoners, expect no mercy, live free or die; war. Good luck and happy gardening nedwina.

I am planning on buying a tennis racquet. The first year I had my garden, those SVB's came out of the forest and I didn't know what they were. They came in swarms in the late afternoon. If I owned a racquet, I would have killed about one million of them.

Ted
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rainbowgardener
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WOW!! Geez! Shoot! (and other family friendly expletives!) I never heard of, much less saw a swarm of SVB's like that. Amazing and terrifying!

Nonetheless it seems if your plants were under (well battened down) row cover, when the swarm arrives, they would pass on harmlessly to someone else's less protected garden!

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gixxerific
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rainbowgardener wrote:WOW!!
Nonetheless it seems if your plants were under (well battened down) row cover, when the swarm arrives, they would pass on harmlessly to someone else's less protected garden!
That is Life Cycle right there in it's truest form. :)

tedln
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Yea rainbowgardener and dono. That first year, I thought they were some kind of wasp swarming. I caught one and discovered what it was. I tried some insecticide on them as they would swarm into and out of the garden. It was their favorite flavor. They seemed to thrive on the insecticide. The really odd thing was the fact that a garden had never been planted where I placed mine and I don't think any kind of plant they typically need to reproduce was growing within a mile of my house. They must travel a long distance.

Last year, I only spotted two of them all season. I did lose a few squash plants to them, but nothing like I expected and I lost them so late in the season, it didn't really concern me.

I will be putting some hoops and floating covers over my beds early this year. I don't really want to because I will have to hand pollinate the squash, but I guess thats okay. I got good at it last year because the bees were really late arriving.

Ted
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gixxerific
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Good luck Ted, I know how it is. I was invaded last year by I think everything but the squash borer probably because I didn't have any squash. :lol: The worst of my problems were Tobacco Worms but they are big and easily removed, but they can eat A WHOLE LOT in a short time. :shock:

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