Friday, August 6, 2010

How To Squash a Bug: A Tutorial for the Squeamish

fertilizer Friday Let me start by saying that I am not normally a violent person. If there must be a death, I prefer bloodless deaths (i.e. avalanche scene in Mulan). And I took 2 years of horticulture, just to get out of dissecting a frog. Seriously.

Today, instead of flaunting my flowers, I am flaunting my ability to squash bugs without ever touching them. My daughter said, “I’m sure lots of other people use the same method, they just don’t publicly acknowledge it”. She is probably right, but I have decided to share my method on the off chance that you are in need of a touchless bug removal system.

I have been battling squash bugs for a little while this summer. Since I prefer bloodless deaths, I try to remove and destroy as many eggs as possible. They often lay their eggs in the V of the squash leaves: August2010 027

I either tear or cut that portion of the leaf off.

Sometimes they lay eggs on the stem: August2010 048

You can either scrape them off or remove the stem.

Once they have hatched, I escalate to organic insecticidal soap: August2010 025

You want to make sure there is not any collateral damage, so you don’t want your insecticide to be too strong. To make Insecticidal Soap Spray, combine 2 tablespoons Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap with 1 quart water in a spray bottle.

If they survive to adulthood, I flush them out by watering the plants which causes them to move to the top of the plant: July2010 245 Then I take a piece of leaf  in my hand: August2010 049

And use the leaf to catch the bug: August2010 050 Then I place the folded leaf on a stone: August2010 051 And use my shoe to smash it: August2010 028 I put all the leaves, stems, and crushed bugs into a plastic bag like the one that blew into my yard on trash day: August2010 053

When your plants are done producing, remove them immediately to lessen the chance of another infestation next year. Because instead of dying plants and ugly bugs, you want to see bees pollinating your squash flowers:August2010 078 So that you have an abundant harvest: August2010 077I am not proud of either my squeamishness or my new prowess, but I do hope this helps you if your garden is ever invaded. Now go visit Tootsie Time to view gorgeous gardens from around the world.

What organic methods of pest control do you use in your garden?


Darla said...

Battling bugs this year has been a job hasn't it?

Millie said...

I love reading tutorials, but I have never before seen a bug-squashing tutorial! The other info was very good too...thankfully I have not seen these bugs around my garden yet.

deb said...

Great post wiuth great tips!!

Melissa said...

These are great tips. I think it would still be hard to squash one of those big juicy tomato hornworms. I'll leave that to my hubby. :)

Alea Milham said...


You can use my method for picking them up and then drop them in a bucket of soapy water where they will drown. It is a little less disgusting.

Debbie said...

Thanks for the info; I hate bugs and it has sure been a buggy year for us. A lot of moisture and then hot and dry. I have potato bugs this year and they sure crunch when you squash them. UGH!

~Kristin~ said...

This was good and funny!

Beth said...

Today I began washing fresh broccoli in the sink, and out came two green worms and an earwig! Eeewww! I shall try to keep them outside and try your methods of pest control in the future. Have a nice wknd!

Erin said...

I am having trouble with zucchini that wither after about 4" is failure to thrive that is heartbreaking. Bugs would be a nice sad is that?

Tootsie said...

this is a great post! I do similar you are just braver than me to share it! hahahaha!

Tricia @Hodgepodge said...

Ah! Thank you SO much for linking to your tutorial. It was a present in my comment box. You described me exactly. I just wanted to walk away and think about it tomorrow, Scarlett.