|Squash beetles look a lot like pale ladybugs.|
It looks like a “good year” for squash beetles, because I have smashed a lot of them already. They are on both the zucchini and cucumber plants.
My camera hasn’t wanted to focus on the little beetles, so the picture at the right is a bit fuzzy, but if you imagine a “washed out” looking ladybug, with seven spots on each side of its body, and it is eating a plant in the the squash/cucumber family, then you pretty much have a good picture in your mind.
The pattern of damage on the leaves is distinctive. According to Purdue U.:
|Squash beetles snip an arched line around their feeding spots.|
“The squash beetle larvae and adults usually feed on the underside of leaves and snip a circular trench that arcs from one leaf edge to another. After it has completed the trench, the insect feeds on the tissue isolated by the trench for 1-2 hours before searching for another leaf.
A study at University of Delaware showed that this feeding characteristic reduces the influx of chemical defenses from the injured plant to the entrenched tissues, thereby preserving the leaf tissue’s suitability for feeding.
Moreover, the larvae only feed on the tissue between veins on the underside of the leaves, leaving the upper surface more or less intact. As a result, their feeding gives the injured leaf a characteristic lace-like skeletonized appearance on the upper surface.”
The good news is that this isn’t the cucumber beetle that carries bacterial wilt or the squash bugs that transmit the cucurbit yellow-vine virus.
Hunting squash beetles to smash is easiest and most productive in the middle of a sunny day, when they are most active, but I have been scouting for beetles (and then smashing them) after I get home from work, after walking the dog and tending the bunnies, while I am in the garden to harvest beans.
The bean harvests are going well. After the great harvests of the weekend, I was able to blanch some of these for the freezer, for future meals.
There will be more zucchini coming to the kitchen over the next couple of days, and Joe and I are both snitching black raspberries off the canes while we are out in the yard. When the Heritage red raspberries start to ripen, we will begin to have enough berries to bring inside before eating them (there aren’t many black raspberry plants in the yard).
Blackberries are all still green, but they also are looking good.
I hope all the other gardens out there are producing well and are untroubled by pests!