These weevils are about one-half inch in length with a dull brownish to black body. As with all weevils, the insect has an extended snout and chewing mouthparts.
In the spring, the female will burrow into the base of a plant and lay eggs, which then hatch into grubs that feed through the center of the plant.
As is the case with most beetles, controlling the yucca beetle is difficult. Once the beetle is discovered, the best solution is to destroy both the insects and the plant that is infested. However, should you want to try to save the specimen you could try either a broad-spectrum insecticide or a systemic insecticide.
Squash bugs – you’ve either got to dislike them or hate them, as there is usually no in-between. Squash bugs are dark-colored, hard-shelled insects that are about five-eighths of an inch long with a somewhat shield-like shape. They love to hang out on squash, pumpkins and sometimes other cucurbits.
They are quite destructive due to their feeding habit of sucking sap from plants and when insect numbers are high this feeding damage can result in the wilting and eventual death of the plants.
Even with our cold winter it appears that this year will be a heavy year for squash bugs, so if you haven’t seen them you might soon. The bugs hang out on the stems and under the leaves of the plants. Once you find them you will also see masses of eggs – small bronze-colored oblong eggs that are in a group and laid on the underside of the leaves and sometimes on the stems.
There rarely seems to be an end to squash bugs. In areas with small plantings, daily scouting of the plants by lifting up the leaves and removing and killing the insects can be very effective in controlling them. Also look for the eggs and either squash them or remove them from the plant by cutting out a section of the leaf or removing the whole leaf.
One way to help you in this scouting is to use a handheld dust buster to vacuum the insects up and then drop them in some soapy water. Mulching is not a good idea for squash plants since that gives the insects a great hiding place.
One organic control method gaining popularity is a combination of diatomaceous earth and pyrethrin applied around the base of the plant. There are some other non-organic insecticides that might help if applied early in the season.
I recently read about an experimental technique being tested at one university which involves companion planting of catnip, tansy, marigolds, beebalm, or nasturtiums amongst the squash. These other plants might help repel the squash bug although I wouldn’t expect 100 percent success.
Since adult squash bugs will over-winter in debris in the vicinity of plantings that have been infested, one of the best gardening chores you can do in the fall is to remove garden residues by either tilling the material into the soil, burning it or using high temperature – meaning correct – composting techniques. Just throwing all the plant debris in a pile doesn’t qualify as a correct composting technique.
For more information about these topics, call the Utah State University Extension Grand County office at 259-7558 or email Michael Johnson at email@example.com.