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How Do You Get Rid of the Squash Bug Eggs You Find?

Found and killed two squash bugs when I checked the plants today. Also found two clusters of eggs.

I don’t like spending anymore time doing this than I have to. So my approach is to tear the cluster of eggs off the leaf and not make a big deal of it. The leaf might not look so beautiful after that, but it doesn’t hurt the plant and it’ll grow plenty more leaves anyway.

The torn off leaf with the eggs goes in my skirt pocket (or a plastic bag) and are transferred to the trash when I get back to the house. (Flushing down the toilet also works.)

Scraping or Flicking or Squishing

There are those who take all kinds of pains to remove the eggs and leave the leaf intact. Some people scrape off the eggs with a knife and others “flick” them off. When I hear that, it always makes me wonder what they do with the eggs? It brings to mind a picture of the gardener just casting the eggs to the ground.

The problem with that is — the eggs can still hatch. “But” – you say -“They’re not on a leaf and so they have no food.”

Thing is, nature’s a lot tougher than that. She’s really good at seeing to it things survive. It’d be a pretty safe bet that many of those eggs hatch and the nymphs that hatch go on to become adults.

Other gardeners say they squish the eggs. (Good luck with that!)

Squash bug eggs are hard. The chances are in their favor to survive your “squishing” and still hatch.

Final Thoughts

If you’re taking the time and effort to check for bugs and their eggs, you may as well choose a method that will guarantee the eggs don’t hatch.  If you don’t want to use my approach, you’ll find more suggestions in the related posts below.

Related Posts:

Squash Bugs – Tactics for Winning the War

Squash Bugs – End of Season Strategy

Squash Bugs – It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over

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10 comments to How Do You Get Rid of the Squash Bug Eggs You Find?

  • Sandra

    Another thing that I do, Theresa is to hose the plant and the soil just around it. I do this during the day not in the AM or PM. Go off and do something else for a couple of minutes. The squash bugs do not like the water, and they come out to the top of the plant. I’ve been able to come back a few minutes later and kill some adults this way – they’re not hard to catch and a quick squish does the job. If you don’t have a hose to hand, it also sometimes works to disturb the straw around the plants with your hand, and interestingly they’ll come up to see what is happening. To me, they look funny because they seem so indignant about being disturbed. I do the eggs the same way you do. To me the big key is not letting those eggs hatch. That happened to me one year and things got out of hand very quickly.

  • maryethel miller

    I agree. Tear off that portion of the leaf. Better to get all of them than have an intact leaf only to have it destroyed later by the damage from those nasty bugs.

  • Kate

    Timely post Theresa – I have been trying to scrape the eggs, failing (because they are really glued on) and resorting to just tearing a section of the leaf. Glad to hear that is not gonna kill the poor plant.

    Also taking a kind of unholy glee in crushing the mating pairs of squash bugs I have caught in flagrante delicto

  • Angie France

    I keep a plastic milk or water jug out in the garden and when I catch the bugs or find the eggs, I just drop them in the jug and shut the lid. I do rip the eggs off the leaf too.

  • Don Rutherford

    My wife loves zucchini, so she doesn’t mind going out and searching the leaves for eggs and tearing off the part of the leaves that the eggs are on. She then puts the leaf in a plastic bag to dispose of later. She “owns that job and goes out about every day for about 10 minutes and looks for eggs and any adults she may see. This method is extremely effective as we had no bugs for the last 2 years. 3 years ago when we first got them and I wrote you with my problem, all my squash plants were destroyed as well as my pumpkin plants and then they moved on to the cucumber plants. With your advice then of picking off the eggs, we saved the cucumber plants.

    We also, as you suggested, bought a small dust buster to vacuum up the little bugs that we missed that had hatched along with any adults. Staying ahead of the game is Huge, very seldom do we see an adult squash bug now, except sometimes in the house in the winter, or by the house, probably looking for a better spot to lay the eggs.

    You have been so wonderful and are so appreciated.

    Don

  • Farming Bear

    I tried duct tape before. Soon, it became cumbersome and I didn’t care for such waste. I realized that tearing the section of leaf off was the way to go. Glad to read this to have confirmation. Thank you.

  • Theresa

    Sandra, I’m glad you brought up the watering “trick” because although I’ve addressed it in previous posts, it bears repeating because IT WORKS SO WELL!

    When I use this method, I have to do it with a little spray bottle of water. (No hose near the garden.) Still works great.

    If I get caught in the garden without the little spray bottle, I disturb the soil and straw around the plants as you suggested and sure enough bugs magically appear.

    Also, the last part of your comment was a great warning to new gardeners to find and destroy the eggs. Otherwise, as you said, things get out of hand VERY QUICKLY!

    Priceless testimonial, Sandra, that will help many. Thank you!

    MaryEthel – you hit the nail on the head when you said, “Better to get all of them than have an intact leaf only to have it destroyed later by the damage from those nasty bugs.”

    Kate, so glad this post was timely for you. Always keep in mind that nature is too strong to allow a few torn leaves to kill a plant.

    Angie, your method is an excellent one because you’re always prepared that way! Appreciate your taking the time to share it.

    Don, as you said, “Staying ahead of the game is HUGE.” Makes life so much easier.

    I sure appreciated your kind words about my help. Thanks for expressing your thoughts to me. It always lifts my spirits.

    I can see why you gave up on the duct tape method, Patricia. To me that would be the most “difficult” of egg removal methods.

    Theresa

  • Pat

    Oh, my! I have been doing it wrong all these years – thinking that if the eggs aren’t on the leaves they won’t develop into bugs. I have been a faithful scraper! But from now on, I shall TEAR! I also have found it helpful to lay a board on the ground near the plants. The bugs congregate under it and I manage to kill quite a few by just turning the board over and stomping them to death.

    I don’t have water in the garden either, Theresa. I like the idea of keeping a spray bottle handy.

    Thank you, Theresa, for keeping us on the right path!

  • Theresa

    Pat, I wouldn’t term it “doing it wrong”; as any effort to get rid of them is better than not making an effort.
    It’s just that some ways get better results and I think I’m safe in saying that ALL of us want better results when it comes to bugs! 🙂
    Theresa

  • Bev

    So glad to see the answer to my question, as to whether scraping to the ground was a good elimination method. I try to collect when I scrape, as I thought they might have a chance of survival, but had read somewhere that other “bugs” would eat the eggs. I try to have a small plastic bag for collection. I often tear a section of leaf, as well. I have seen, in my vast research of the squash bug, that they sometimes lay on the stem. I had not been looking for that, so will increase my inspection. Also, my husband has always liked to turn spent crops into the ground to help amend the soil, but I told him that I had read that decaying vegetation was a favorite hiding spot for the adult bug. I am fully engaged in the war against squash bugs now that I have learned that it was not a heat/water problem that was killing my squash. Learned of the squash bug last year, and am on the attack!

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