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Lindsaylew82
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SVB IN the FRUITS?!

Is it so?! I keep finding what I think are SVB worms INSIDE my squash and zucchini. They've bored into my pumpkins, too.

SVB? Something else?
Image

ETA: They are in my cucumbers, too. In the fruits AND THE VINES!
Lindsay
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USDA Zone 7b/ Sunset Zone 31

imafan26
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

Yep, it looks like it.
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applestar
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

Gah! :x I hadn't heard that they do that either.

But yeah...
If vine senescence occurs early, the borer may tunnel into the fruit.
https://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheet ... vine-borer

Meh... Came across this article in the search just now :?
Tips and tricks to beating the squash vine borer | Georgia FACES | UGA
It's titled "The squash vine borer: A difficult but manageable garden pest" :roll:

I don't have the extra growing space/soil to keep burying the vines as mentioned in the article, and that Red Kuri Vine I disposed of due to SVB had been infiltrated at practically every leaf node it had set down roots from.

I did find the bit about Cucuzza interesting because I'm looking for an alternative to the C. pepo zucchini and heard that this is a good one. Tromboncino is another -- I tried that before and liked it. I have one volunteer vine growing this year so far with only one fruit. I think I'm going to try Cucuzza next year.

The article mentions Yellow bowls of soapy water to catch the adult moth. 8)

I'm going to try injecting with Bt -- I like the strictly localized application method -- though I saw from the window yesterday that the volunteer pumpkin might have gone down. :|

....it really sounds like a tough moth caterpillar year for you... Very discouraging, I'm sure. Could it be that there are night blooming flowers that are attracting them? The year I experimented with growing all kinds of gourds AND fragrant night blooming flowers (nicotiana, moonflower, stock, etc....)I had more pest moth infestations, though I also got to see interesting and unusual giant moths as well.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

Interesting, applestar. As you know, I'm one that gave up on growing zucchini due to the vine borers. I have tried mounding dirt over the stems as they grow and that didn't save them. And I certainly don't have room to grow more plants than the borers can destroy.

But I always do grow nicotiana and moonflower. I never thought about them attracting the moths. But I'm not sure I would include the moonflower in that. My nicotiana has been blooming for a long time, but the moonflower has lots of vine, but doesn't even have buds yet. I think before I usually have moonflower in bloom, my zucchini would have already been killed by the borer.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

I have marigolds and nasturtium everywhere. At least 50-60 plants. The marigolds are huge and showy this year, the nasturtium haven't bloomed yet.

Apple, I read that article last night right after I posted. It was a good article. My zucchini vines and the rest of the vines have been a little resilient. While they ARE ALL infested, they are still putting out new growth.

My no till method is starting to worry me. From what I'm reading, 2-4 inch deep spring and fall tilling will help to destroy overwintering caterpillars. I really don't like the idea of that. Chickens are sounding better and better. And guinea hens.

I think I have some pickle worms, too.
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

"Chickens are sounding better and better. And guinea hens."

That would be cool, but I'm too citified to be able to do that. But think about birds generally. Do you keep bird feeders and bird baths? I think it makes a big difference. Even the seed eating birds eat insects and caterpillars during the nesting and feeding the young season.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

While I don't have bird baths, I do have ravines between rows that collect water. The birds get in them nearly everyday. They are doing their jobs! I keep finding bug filled stools all over the garden. They frequently perch on the fence and the rebar stakes. I need to put more feed out for them. I have a few feeders, but the squirrels tend to empty them quickly. One has a paper wasp nest from last year with a healthy population of paper wasps occupying it again this year.

Aside from just bombing the whole garden with BT, I feel like I'm doing everything that I can do. When I get back, I think I will start back with regular neem applications. I may just start adding BT in with it. I don't really want to, but it's hard to see all that hard work being ruined despite my constant hand picking.

Caterpillars are just AWEFUL THIS YEAR!
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

Apple, how much BT do you inject?
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

you need squirrel proof bird feeders. These are the kind that work best for us:


Image
https://www.a-home-for-wild-birds.com/im ... r-5346.jpg

They have the feeder tube inside a heavy wire cage that the birds can get through, but the squirrels can't. We had some for years and the squirrels have never managed to chew through them.
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applestar
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

@Lindsay, I am SOOOO THANKFUL that you posted about this.
Thank you, thank you. :D

If you hadn't, it wouldn't have occurred to me to check on the coconut sized Red Kuri which I was hoping would finish maturing despite the SVB damage to the main vine. :evil:

I tried the thumbnail test again to check for maturity this morning, and it still dented a little. When I lifted the fruit to check underneath, the stem broke right off, revealing the hollow tunnel inside. :x

But because you'd posted this information, I cut it open immediately and was able to salvage the fruit. The seeds were at the not quite mature stage which makes the hulls edible and seeds tasty so the entire fruit including the skin could be saved. :()
Attachments
I only had to cut this much off to chase down the little creeps.   <br />You can see one of them looking for a hiding place to the right.<br />(it eventually crawled into the hollow stem, which did NOT save it.)<br />The rest of the cut up fruit still filled a 1 qt zip bag.
I only had to cut this much off to chase down the little creeps.
You can see one of them looking for a hiding place to the right.
(it eventually crawled into the hollow stem, which did NOT save it.)
The rest of the cut up fruit still filled a 1 qt zip bag.
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

Lindsaylew82 wrote:Apple, how much BT do you inject?
I used 30 ml Thuricide per qt, and for the liquid, I was going to use rainwater, but I had enriched rainwater from the rain leached container plants, so I used that diluted in 1/2 with rainwater instead.

I couldn't find my plant injector so I had to use plastic pipettes. But SVB's mostly leave convenient holes for you to inject into. I also used the hollow leaf stems as delivery paths to suspect leaf nodes. For example, in the photo, I cut off the top of that stem to reveal the hollow stem and basically filled about two inches of it with the Bt solution.
The base of this vine was dark green two days ago.
The base of this vine was dark green two days ago.
At this point, the vines are either going to die or recover, so I just squirted as much as the 10 mil (smaller tip) and 30 mil pipettes could deliver. Sometimes the liquid actually spurted out from side holes made by the SVB's.
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

I've got some serious work to do when I get home!
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applestar
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

I'm thinking about predatory nematodes. I keep saying it and then backing off because they seem expensive and also I have mixed feelings about introducing a concentrated population of any one organism into the local biosphere.

Also, if you get the combination (I believe there are three or four major species) they are supposed to cover almost every possible soil dwelling "pest" but that may also mean soil dwelling "beneficials" and "benign desirables" may be placed in jeopardy, too.

It's like hiring indiscriminate assassins. :o

...but it's a thought that I go back to every spring and fall when temperatures are at ideal levels to disperse them...
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Lindsaylew82
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

I'm thinking about predatory nematodes. I keep saying it and then backing off because they seem expensive and also I have mixed feelings about introducing a concentrated population of any one organism into the local biosphere.
I can relate to that...

I need to do more research on them to have an educated opinion. Don't they like sandy soils? I wonder how they'd do in clay based solid.

You've given me something to ponder!!!
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

I have a squash plant that volunteered in my shadiest bed. Since the bed is shady, I didn't have a whole lot left in it any more. The squash plant has now traveled the 8' length of the bed and is starting up the fence. It looks surprisingly happy and healthy, given how little sun it gets. It has a bunch of blooms on it. I am just letting it go to see what happens. Since it is a volunteer, I have no idea yet what kind of squash. I haven't grown zucchini in a few years, but we still eat zucchini. I'm pretty sure the squash came from the compost I planted things with (I got a bunch of volunteer tomato plants too, which I pulled.) So there could have been zucchini seeds in the compost or any of several others.

It's in the shady bed, surrounded by deer netting (which is presumably not fine enough grid to keep the vine borer moth out, but I'm not sure, and anyway this bed doesn't have any fencing over the top), growing with cilantro, parsley, kale and celery. So what are the chances of the vine borer leaving it alone? I usually get all hopeful and excited about this time and then it produces 1-2 fruits and then the borer gets it and wham, gone.
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

So it's been a week... and conditions change dramatically when you are talking SVB. How fairs your shady bed squash?

I have a Kakai squash that I "harvested" because the vines dried up. It seemed pretty much mature and appeared to have survived the SVB. I washed it, let it dry in the sun, brought it inside to sit in a basket on the counter. Everything seemed fine. Thumbnail test very slightly marked the skin. And -today- I decided to put it outside in the sun again for a while with the Japanese Pie Pumpkin from yesterday whose vine and stem had gone soggy.

But just as I was putting it on the patio table, I felt a bit of wetness. (What's that?) ...it was a bit of mushy borer goo on my hand :x There was a little hole in its side. :evil:
So, hustle it back in th kitchen and cut it open:
Squash Vine Borer inside the Kakai squash ugh!
Squash Vine Borer inside the Kakai squash ugh!
It was a tiny one causing more damage than you might think. But Kakai is primarily harvested for the hulless seeds (though I did come across a YouTube juicing the Kakai flesh, so I might try that with the remaining majority of the spongy -- widely accepted as inedible --flesh). The seeds were mostly fine and I scooped out, washed and dried them.
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

Is that some pest that can be eradicated? And is it something that's very contagious?
How do you think you got it?

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Lindsaylew82
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

It's difficult to control.

I pulled most of my squash plant last weekend. They were heavily infested with a SVB maggot in each leaf node. I have a really bad case of PICKLE worms too. They attack primarily the fruit. The combination irritated me so badly that I just decided to pull them from the garden.

My plants can handle quite a bit of damage from SVB in the base of the plant. I still get fruit from infested plants until they wilt, but a SVB+pickle worm combo makes it pointless. I noticed that when I backed off with the neem oil, things got worse. Back on the neem oil.
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

DDMcKenna wrote:Is that some pest that can be eradicated? And is it something that's very contagious?
How do you think you got it?
SVB = squash vine borer. To me it is the worst pest in the garden. A lot of things just munch on leaves or even fruit, but the plants can tolerate a lot of that without serious damage to the plant. The vine borer moth lays eggs on the stem of squash family plants, down near the base. When they hatch into little larvae, the larvae immediately eat their way into the stem (boring in). At that point they start eating the plant from the inside out. Once they eat the channels through which the plant circulates water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves, the plant is toast. Almost overnight, a big beautiful squash plant becomes a wilted, collapsed mess and dies.

They are very difficult to deal with. The moth can only be killed if you spot her. The larvae inside the stem are protected from any sprays you would put on the outside. Main things I know that work are growing your plant inside tightly secured row cover (but then you have to hand pollinate everything, because the bees and other pollinators are also excluded), cutting the larvae out, or injecting them with Bt. To cut it out, you have to be very vigilant, watching your plants every day. As soon as you see sawdust like frass appearing at the base of it, do some surgery and cut the borer out. Likewise for the Bt, it depends on vigilance. From when the larvae appear, it is a pretty short window until your plants are dead.
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Re: SVB IN the FRUITS?!

Damn! That is a very nasty beast. It's a shame they haven't invented some means to kill that particular moth. I'm sorry it attacked you so badly

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