Monday, August 22, 2011

garden update: squash bug invasion

We have been enjoying the most delicious zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers from our garden. Little did we know that those cute little bugs all over the plants were slowly sucking every bit of life from each little fruit. I began to wonder why the plants were looking so yellow and suddenly stopped producing. I saw what I thought were stink bugs on the plants and researched what could be the problem. SQUASH BUGS! Yes, that was exactly what they were. I t seems we had created a little heaven for them to thrive in. Plenty to eat and no natural predators lurking. So, instead of putting my head in the dirt and forgetting the whole garden, we are using this as yet another great homeschooling lesson. What could be better then to study squash bugs. Identifying their eggs, the little babies, the nymphs (or teenagers) and the adults. Learning how to remove them. Making soap and neem oil solutions to try and eliminate and deter them and learning what type of plants to grow with squash that bring in other bugs that like to eat them. Wow! My kids are out int he garden fining squash bug eggs and newly hatched bugs and removing them from the leaves and I have lived my whole life not even know that these things existed. It is amazing what you can learn just planting a garden. We have come up with some good ways to pick the bugs off the plants. Our new favorite is the sucking them off with the shop vac. That was Johns bright idea. Pilot still loves catching them in his cute little hands. We are not giving up though. We have started planting our fall garden and plan to put up some hoophouses over our raised beds to extend our growing season. We may not have much coming out of the garden right now to eat, but we are learning and becoming better gardeners day by day and that is a good thing. 
::the eggs look like shinny golden ovals
::some newly hatched babies
::eggs, babies and nymphs
::these nymphs are hiding in the dead leave...a favorite spot for squash bugs

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