Thursday, August 2, 2012

Zucchini Gone Very Wrong!

Well it is inevitable that bugs (a variety of arthropods) will inhabit any garden. The trick is to get a nice balance of good bugs and bad bugs and to understand that plants that succumb to disease, wildlife and/or weather are all part of the gardening experience.

During the last Garden Day, one of our tasks was to find and destroy the Striped Cucumber Beetles among the cucurbit plants. Tuesday, while picking yet more ripe produce for the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, I found the above zucchini. I noticed three things right away: 1. The chew marks. 2. A small black worm on the blossom end (picture below). 3. A Striped Cucumber Beetle perched on the zucchini as if it owned it. The beetle flew off immediately.

Not sure what this fellow is, but as he was caught at the
scene-of-the-crime, he went the same way as the other
pests in the garden.

The larvae has been busy!

I picked the zucchini and noticed even more extensive chewing damage on the underside and an excavated hole in the stem end of the zucchini with some sort of larvae just visible inside. I decided I needed to investigate further.  I brought the zucchini inside and cut away some of the flesh to see what creature was inside. Below are the pictures of what I found. At first I suspected that it was a Striped Cucumber Beetle larvae, but after more research I think it may be a Squash Vine Borer. I did send a picture to the UNH Cooperative Extension to determine what it is exactly.

Larvae in its zucchini cavity.

 All the bumpy, yellow stuff is called "frass." Frass is a combination
of the excavated plant material and poop from the insect therein.

  Frass and larvae head close up.

Larvae (from the children's garden) and quarter for scale.

Squash Vine Borer picture by Ric Bessin, Extension Entomologist,
University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

What do folks think? A match?

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a match to me. Yuck. I came across this post trying to figure out what's eating my own zucchini- I've got some kind of little tiny worms or larvae burrowing into the blossom ends of the squash. So sad :(