|Anasa tristis: squash bug|
I really hate squash bugs. They multiply faster than snowflakes and do just as much damage to my squash.
The vigilance with which I guard my tomatoes from hornworms is nothing compared to the vigilance with which I watch for and guard my squash from squashbugs. Nothing, I tell you.
There are only two ways to control this pest: 1. by spraying awful chemicals that are illegal for me to have and that I wouldn't want anywhere near this place anyway. or 2. By hand picking and squishing the adults and by finding the eggs and taking them off and destroying them.
Unfortunately, my adversary is wily.
OK. Not everywhere. Just on the underside of every squash leaf it can find. I have a lot of squash leaves. It's not like I can hide them. Squash bugs find them all.
See the dark triangle on the underside of this squash leaf? It's a squash bug egg cluster. I hunt for them every day. Under every leaf.
Last year I didn't, and I had squash bugs everywhere. It was awful. This year I promised I wouldn't let it get that bad. So I hunt them every day under every leaf.
Once I find the egg clusters, I pinch off that part of the leaf. It leaves a hole, but a hole is better than a herd of squash bugs.
Baby squash bugs look like little spiders with blue-ish white bodies. They hang out together, but scatter when disturbed. Luckily, they're soft bodied and easy to squish. [see photos of baby squash bugs]
I drown the eggs in a bucket of water and then let the ducks eat them.
New eggs are light gold. The older the eggs are, the darker they get. Eggs that are very dark brown are almost ready to hatch.
If they had been allowed to finish [and they weren't], the female would have found a cozy place under the leaf in the V of a leaf vein and laid a bunch of eggs.
Instead, they suffered a different fate.
My chickens are happy.
The very good news this year is that all of my vigilance has totally paid off. I have way fewer squash bugs this year because I've been taking care of the eggs as I find them.