This is the first in a new series of posts called Two Insects You Should Get to Know! These will be posts about two insects. Totally randomly I’m picking out insects that are thought of as good or bad but either way these are insects you want to know and learn about.
Name: Squash Vine Borer
Eats: Your squash vines…from the inside.
What makes them good: If your garden can withstand an onslaught by squash vine borers it can pretty much withstand anything.
What makes them a pain: The parent moth can fly at night when you aren’t in the garden. They find yellow (cucurbit blossom!) like gangbusters. You don’t realize your vines are in trouble until its too late.
Management strategy: Plant or leave other things in your garden that are yellow. The moths may lay eggs around these things, killing the larvae quickly. Use row covers. Plants lots of flowers and hope some other brave beneficial insect will man up and fight these things. Jack Spirko (www.thesurvivalpodcast.com) believes that ants may help control after the larvae have started boring.
Eats: Aphids, flower nectar, various other insects.
What makes them good: They are fun to watch and they do take care of plant predation issues.
What makes them a pain: There never seems to be enough and they take their dear sweet time showing up sometimes.
Management strategy: Plant tons of large flowers like sunflowers. Leave them some insects (such as aphids) to eat. Mulch (they like to hide in it). If they don’t come natural introduce some. But make sure you have things there that will keep them!