What is the insect an what eradicates it #733115 - Ask Extension

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What is the insect an what eradicates it #733115

Asked November 03, 2020, 5:27 PM EST

I’ve been having an issue trying to grow buttercup squash for the past three years.  Every year the plants do great until they start setting the squash.  They get to be about 1 1/4” in diameter and the squash turns brown and rots. I discovered that the vines are heavily scared and the center of the vine is gone.  The vines die shortly thereafter.  This year I found the parasite insects/worms eating the end of a zucchini that was next to the squash.  I am assuming that they are the cause of the issues with the squash.  
I was wondering if it is this same insect/worm could be what is eating the squash vines.  I would appreciate if the parasite could be identified and what I could use to treat the soil to kill them.  The insect/worm has a hard segmented shell that crunched when squished.
Much appreciate your response.
Dale Converse
7667 Currie Rd
Northville, MI 48168
734 718-4766

Washtenaw County Michigan

Expert Response

Squash vine borer is the probable cause. This moth lays eggs within the vines, and its offpsring are wormlike, feeding on the inside of the vines. Squash vine borer can overwinter in Michigan, and growing the same plant annually provides the pest with easy access to squash. 

I would recommend rotating your squash with a plant from a different family (tomatoes, peppers...) and trying squash the following year. Another option is to grow your squash beneath floating row covers, which will create a barrier that reduces the potential of squash vine borer laying eggs within the vines. I'm including a resource on squash vine borer and management recommendations: https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/squash-vine-borers

Your picture shows millipedes feeding on the squash, which is probably a secondary issue caused by the weakened plants.
David Lowenstein Replied November 04, 2020, 10:31 AM EST

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