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Squash Vine Borers are Out Now

Jeffrey Hahn, Extension Entomologist

Jeff Hahn, Univ. of MN Extension

Photo 1: Mating squash vine borer adults

Squash vine borer adults have just been sighted. If you are growing summer squash, winter squash, or pumpkins, take the proper precautions to protect your vine crops from this insect. This garden pest less frequently attacks butternut squash, cucumbers and melons. If you are unsure whether squash vine borers are in your area, monitor your garden for their presence.

Set out a yellow pan of water. Yellow is attractive to squash vine bores, and they will fly to and fall into the water. Check these traps at least once a day. Squash vine borer adults are easy to recognize as they are wasp-like and about ½ inch long. They have an orange abdomen with black spots and the first pair of wings is metallic green while the back pair of wings is clear. These moths are active during the daytime and you may also observe them when you are in your garden.

Management of squash vine borers is often challenging. There are several steps you can take to try to minimize them, such as planting less attractive crops, making a later, second planting, using row covers (note: do not use row covers if planting vine crops in the same site in consecutive years), and well-timed insecticide treatments. For more information on squash vine borers, including management, see Squash vine borer management in home gardens
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