How to Get Rid of Squash Bugs & Squash Vine Borers

The Prudent Garden
by The Prudent Garden
Growing squash in your home vegetable garden can reward you with heavy yields for little work. However, avoiding insect infestation, specifically squash bugs and squash vine borers, is critical to success. We have battled these pesky creatures in our garden over the years. Luckily there are several rather simple preventative steps that will help to ensure success without the use of harsh insecticides.
Here are some tips to help you successfully grow squash:

1. Because the bugs overwinter in the soil where the plants grew, never grow squash in the same part of the garden in successive years.

2. Avoid deep layers of mulch, use a hoe to keep the soil loose and weed free to minimize hiding places for the bugs.

3. Start seeds indoors to give them a headstart on the bugs’ life cycle. This may allow them to begin producing before the bugs have emerged. Do this for a late crop as well to get a fall crop that will miss the bugs after they have gone back into the ground.
Squash bug eggs on the underside of leaves.
4. Opt for bug resistant squash varieties, such as Butternut, Early Summer Crookneck, Improved Green Hubbard, and Royal Acorn.

5. Plant marigolds and nasturtiums among squash plants as a deterrent.

6. Use row covers over squash plants until they begin to flower (remove them to allow the bees access or you will not have squash).

7. Look for “frass” (caterpillar excrement) at the base of stems or along vines, and if any is found, either slit the stem open along its axis or use a needle or wire to kill the caterpillar inside.

8. Leave scrap boards in the rows adjacent to squash plants to give them a hiding place where you can easily find them and remove them by hand.

9. Inspect the undersides of leaves for egg clusters and remove them as they are found. Immediately remove plants that have succumbed to insect damage.

10. Remove squash vines and debris as soon as production is finished for the season and either compost or burn them.
Squash Vine Borers Larve.
For more information on how to identify these pests, check out the entire blog post at
The Prudent Garden
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
Join the conversation
2 of 12 comments
  • R. Blair R. Blair on Feb 22, 2017
    Wow!! Lots of info I haven't been able to find anywhere else! Thank you so much! !

  • Rosemary Shipley-savage Rosemary Shipley-savage on Apr 02, 2019

    Thank you so much! Every year I have high hopes for my little garden,but something always happens to my squash plants. Now I know what to look for, I'll be watching.