In addition to my mint dying after being invaded by ants, the squash bugs have shown up. These are not the squash vine borers, which attack the vines at the base and rot them out. The vine borers are why I no longer grow summer squash. The winter sqush vines are resistant and don’t need chemicals to survive.
The squash bugs suck the juice out of the leaves, leaving them pockmarked, causing them to eventually die. It’s hard to keep the vines alive long enough to ripen the squash and the leaves dying doesn’t help.
The squash bugs move slowly, so I handpick them and either crush them with my gloves or toss them into a small glass of water to drown. When I find the eggs, I rub them until they disintegrate.
There was a fairly large outbreak while I was gone, so my favorite boy toy spent several hours of his precious time chasing them down and killing them. I did more yesterday and by today, there are a lot less.
We were successful last year in using no chemicals for insects on the winter squash and it looks like we will be successful again this year. We did spray for powdery mildew both years, but only once. Not bad, eh?
Word for tomorrow – EXCESS. If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.