Squash Vine Borers

Pest Type: Insect

Damage to Plant: Stems suddenly wilt and die. Greenish, sawdust-like excrement is piled around small entry holes near stem bases and on the ground.

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An eastern pest, the squash vine borer is a 1 inch long caterpillar with a white, accordion like body and a brown head. It tunnels inside plant stems, cutting off the flow of nutrients and water. Infested vines may contain just one borer or as many as a hundred.

Life Cycle: When cucurbits begin to flower, red and black moths lay shiny, mahogany brown eggs singly, usually on stems near plant bases. Caterpillars hatch in 1 to 2 weeks; they bore into stems and feed for about a month, then pupate in the soil. There are one or two generations a year. The pest overwinters underground as either a caterpillar or a pupa.

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