Articles, Blog

Hubbard Trap Crops Part 2 Squash Bug and Vine Borer

(quiet, energetic rock music) – [Narrator] This is the second video in squash trap crop series,
focusing on squash bug and squash vine borer management. Please watch video part one to learn about trap crop for
cucumber beetle management. Information in this video is relevant for organic and conventional
crop production systems. Alabama Vegetable IPM
program has been evaluating trap cropping techniques for a variety of summer and winter vegetable crops. Trap cropping uses the
principles of host preference, and deters pest feeding
from the main crop. With adequate planning
and careful management, trap crops can significantly
reduce damage on the main crop with reduced dependence on insecticides. Squash crop in Alabama is at
high-risk from insect pests like cucumber beetles, squash
bugs, and squash vine borers. In Hubbard trap crop studies
at several locations, Baby Blue and New England
Hubbard squash were evaluated with great success against all
three insect pests mentioned. In our studies, trap crops were planted in the two outside rows, about two weeks before the main crop to allow early growth of the Hubbard squash. A good stand of trap crop can arrest the migration of insect pest. There is a strong evidence
that New England Hubbard is very attractive to squash bugs, especially based on the
number of eggs present on leaves, stems, and flowers. The video shows a female
laying eggs on the Hubbard, by taping abdomen on the leaf’s surface and depositing shiny brown eggs. The eggs darken when
clustered to maturity, and the nymphs continue to hide in the vast canopy of the Hubbard squash. Our research suggests
that squash bugs land and explore the main
crop of yellow squash, but they tend to leave, being attracted by the Hubbard squash
planted in the perimeter. Squash bugs feed, mate, and lay a very high number of
eggs in the trap crop, which significantly reduces
the risk to yellow squash. The next slide shows the
egg counts on trap crops that we have seen in our studies. Both the Baby Blue and New
England Hubbard varieties had 10-13 times more egg laying, compared to yellow squash, or main crop. Hubbard squash varieties
had numerous nymphs hiding under the large leaves with adults feeding close to the plant base. There were also a high number of cucumber beetles during mid-season. Since squash bug and cucumber beetles tend to stay in the trap crop,
one timely application of selective conventional insecticides in the evening hours can provide 80 to 90 percent insect control. In 2015, we were able to
access the attractiveness of Hubbard squash varieties
to squash vine borers in replicated plots. The average infestation
level is shown in the slide. About 44% Hubbard vines were infested with squash vine borer larvae, indicated by the yellow
arrow in the picture. Only 2% yellow squash vines
were infested with vine borers, which resulted in plenty
of high-quality produce without the use of
insecticides on the main crop. In a 2015 study at Coleman, Alabama, about half-acre of yellow
squash was produced without the use of conventional or organic insecticides on the main crop. The main crop needed
fungicide applications due to hot and humid weather conditions. Various popular seed
companies sell Baby Blue and New England Hubbard seeds. We bought untreated
Hubbard from Johnny Seeds and High Mowing Organic. Trap cropping is not the
silver bullet solution to all pest problems, so producers have to be creative in adapting
this tactic on their farm. This IPM tactic can even be scaled up for protecting large
acres of yellow squash by inter-planting rows of trap crop instead of a perimeter design. Please consult Extension, develop a site-specific IPM plan for your farm. Remember that Hubbard trap
crop should be planted ahead of the main crop,
and given proper care for maximum effectiveness. Don’t forget to scout weekly
for target insect pest, and undertake pest control
efforts in a timely manner. Producers and gardeners are encouraged to subscribe to the Alabama
IPM communicator newsletter via the website, To stay informed about recent IPM advances and find educational events, subscribe to the Alabama
Vegetable IPM page on the Facebook for access to photo collection,
and receive pest alerts. The Alabama Vegetable IPM website is another critical source
available to you 24/7. (rock music intensifies)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *