Garden Insects - Squash Vine Borer
Squash Vine Borers or simply "Vine Borers" are one of the most dreaded insects
for pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, and watermelon plants.
An infestation of Squash Vine Borers (abbreviated SVB's) spells a quick end
to your season for these crops. And, it may hardly qualify as an "infestation".
All it takes is one or two SVB per plant. It is the larva of Squash Borers
that do the damage. The larva drills into vines, most often near the base
of the plant. Once inside, they eat the vine away from the inside out, ultimately
If Squash Borers exist in your area, then the use of insecticides is the
only real method of prevention and control. Using insecticides specifically
effective against them is all but a necessity when growing members of the
Cucurbita family. They include pumpkins squash, watermelon, and cucumbers.
The female lays her eggs on the underside of leaves. The eggs hatch and the
larva (grub-like insect) travels down the leaf stem. It then bores a hole
to enter the vine. Once inside, it is surrounded by food....your vine!
Signs of Squash Vine Borer Infestation:
Here are the key signs that you have a borer infestation:
If you have a healthy crop, and it begins to wilt, borers could be the problem.
If the fruit is growing, then unexpectedly stops, you may have SVBs.
The undersides of leaves has SVB eggs.
Upon inspection, you find holes and/or sawdust-like material on the vine,
you definitely have Squash Borers.
Squash Vine Borer Prevention:
If borers are known to exist in your area, we highly recommend preventing
these insects from affecting your crops. That means using insecticides.
Not all insecticides will be effective. Read the back of the insecticide
label, to be absolutely certain that it is effective against them. Follow
the instructions on the label carefully for application rates, method, and
frequency of use.
Insecticides need to be applied early, before the grub-like larva enters
Extracting Vine Borers:
Once a squash borer enters the vine, insecticides can not reach it. The only
thing you can do, is to remove it. Leaving it inside you vine is not an
alternative. Removing it can cause further harm to the plant.
To extract the squash vine borer, find the entry hole. Use a sharp
knife and slowly slice lengthwise, up and down the vine, until you spot the
vine borer. Remove the borer with the tip of your knife and destroy it. There
could be more than one in the vine. So, search for more.
After "surgery", apply a fungicide to the wound. With a little luck, your
season has been saved!