squash bugs

How to Kill Squash Bugs Without Chemicals

How to Kill Squash Bugs Without Chemicals

Squash bugs. They’re gross. They’re annoying. They’re destructive. They’re also pretty dang immune to most pesticides. Good thing you can kill squash bugs without chemicals (and with stuff that you probably already have at home, too).

What you need:

  • Petroleum jelly
  • Rubber glove
  • Glass of water
  • Dish soap

What you do:

  • Fill a glass halfway with water, add a few drops of dish soap, and stir it up.
  • Put the rubber glove on your dominant hand.
  • Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your gloved fingers.
  • Look through your garden and when you find a squash bug, touch it. The jelly on the glove will make the squash bug stick to your hand before it can run away.
  • Drop the squash bug into the glass of soapy water.
  • Repeat as needed.

That’s it! I told you it was easy. This organic pest control method will work for a bunch of different crawling insects. In fact, when I first started using this trick, I thought I was killing squash bugs but I was actually targeting something called a spined green stink bug. This is a Florida pest that loves my tomatoes and tomatillos.

spined green stink bug
Spined green stink bugs caught in my petroleum jelly trap.
stink bug trap
My bounty after 15 minutes of picking through my plants.

Squash Bugs vs. Stink Bugs

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squash bugs
Squash Bug. Photo Credit: m.shattock
brown stink bug
Brown stink bug. Photo Credit: Judy Gallagher
spined green stink bug
Spined green stink bug. Photo Credit: under the same moon...

Both stink bugs and squash bugs damage your plants by piercing the leaves and sucking out their sap. This’ll cause your plant to wilt and if the infestation is bad enough, ultimately die.

Like most things in life, prevention is the best cure when it comes to squash bugs — check under the leaves of your plants on a regular basis and scrape off any eggs that you find. Keeping your garden clear of debris and rotting wood will also give these nasty buggers fewer places to hide.

squash bug eggs
Squash bug eggs. Photo Credit: Chenell Tull
stink bug eggs
Stink bug eggs. Photo Credit: Judy Gallagher

One of the most important skills in creating a successful garden is the ability to pay attention, and to pay attention consistently. Gardening isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it operation. Love your plants, check on them daily, and if you see any unwanted intruders, go grab your glove and petroleum jelly. Is it weird? Kinda. Does it work? Yes.

Happy hunting.


Featured image photo credit: Judy Gallagher

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