The past couple years have been kind of crazy when it comes to bugs in my garden. I’m talking specifically of the cucumber beetle and, my favorite, the squash bug. You can read about some of my previous bouts with these fun friends here and here. Now of course we seem to always get those wonderful tomato horn worms, and they do a lot of damage as well, but they definitely are not as wide spread as the cucumber beetles and squash bugs.
This year I am bound and determined to get ahead of these bugs. I’m not sure how well it will work, but I am very hopeful that I can deter them. I have been checking the plants every day. The eggs of the squash bugs are typically on the back of the leaves, I don’t know how early they show up, but it seems like these bugs are an infestation by the end of June. And as far as the striped cucumber beetles, they all of a sudden just appear flying around, I don’t know where they come from, and haven’t spent a lot of time trying to figure that out either.
My first line of defense was to let the chickens loose in the garden last fall, where they would hopefully eat anything that had the desire to overwinter in our garden space. Of course, that didn’t go as well as planned. They were only satisfied with the garden area for about 2 days, and then they started flying over the incredibly short fence I had set up.
And now we are trying to use floating row covers – which aren’t exactly floating right now. We decided that by getting these over the garden beds early, it should help deter the pests from coming here in the first place because they won’t know where to land. Will this work? I have absolutely no clue, but it is a start.
The floating row covers, coupled with me getting outside every day and checking on the plants is what I hope will work. I don’t want to spray chemicals on my vegetables, and never have in the years past. But, last year was the last straw. I lost all of the cucumbers and squash that I had planted, and it seemed like it happened over night.
I spent a lot of time squishing bugs last year, but after doing some further reading I am just going to spray the squash bugs with soapy water. Apparently when you squish them, the smell that comes out of them attracts more…so perhaps I shot myself in the foot last year when I spent so much time squishing them?
What do you do to deter pests? Any ideas on staying ahead of squash bugs/stink bugs/cucumber beetles? Would you use an organic or non-organic spray if you had a serious infestation?
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