Tag Archives: pest control

Squash Vine Borer Life Cycle – and Control Methods

Anyone interested in the life cycle of the squash vine borer or how to recognize it at each stage?  It’s probably not quite what you think.  I am including a photo library below for your visual pleasure.

The squash vine borer (Melittia cucurbitae) is a moth.  The most surprising thing is that it looks nothing like a moth, it looks more like a fly and it’s far more attractive than you’d expect for such a malicious monster.  It’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The fly lays it’s eggs on the squash plant itself, usually on the stem but can be on a leaf, within a couple of inches of the soil.  After the eggs hatch, the “caterpillars” (maggots!!!) burrow into the stalk of the squash plant.  The only evidence of this happening is a patch of yellowish brownish fine sawdust looking stuff that gathers below the hole in the stalk made by the squash vine borer “caterpillar”.  Once inside, the squash vine borer eats the stalk from the inside out.  Most gardeners discover the invader when leaves turn brown, shrivel up, and fall off.  It’s almost 100% too late at that point.

Grasshoppers – Friend or Foe in the Garden?

When I was a kid I just loved catching grasshoppers.  I don’t know why, they just seemed fun and harmless.  I was fascinated by them.  I grew up in Atlantic Canada and the grasshoppers there did not seem to be as huge and scary as those I encounter in Southern Ontario.  They seem so big here that they are frightening.  It can actually hurt if one of them whacks me up the side of the head!  I sure don’t try catching them any more.  Until recently, I didn’t realize what a menace they are to a gardener.  I’m writing this article in response to a reader’s request and in response to multiple questions we have received this year from Youtube viewers.

There are hundreds of species of grasshoppers and most are pests to a garden.  Grasshoppers are herbivores.  They like to eat green leaves, which sometimes means grass and weeds but it can also mean leaves of your garden plants.   A “good” year for grasshoppers can appear like a locust plague as described in the Bible.  A swarm of grasshoppers can devour a farmer’s field.  Grasshoppers start out eating holes in leaves but can quickly devour entire leaves leaving just the stem and the veins of the leaf.   I’ll include pictures below.