Monday, June 4, 2012

Squash Vine Borer (SVB)

The Beautiful yet menacing Squash Vine Borer
For those living in the South, the appearance of these beautiful moths means only one thing – dead squash plants. These creatures are the reason why I am limited in the type of squash I can grow. The moth lays little brown or red eggs along the stem or near the blossom of any squash or pumpkin plant. The shape of the eggs resembles a human blood cell. If any egg stays on the vine for a few days it will hatch and a small caterpillar will bore straight into the squash vine. As the caterpillar grows it prefers to travel to the thicker parts of the vine.

Squash Vine Borer Eggs on a Zucchini Vine

Occasionally the caterpillar will make a hole to remove its waste, or frass. If you walk around your squash and notice small piles of yellow-orange material coming from the vine you may be encountering the results of squash vine borer (SVB) damage. 

Borer damage will destroy the bottom of the plant

To remove the caterpillars I usually use a razor blade, a needle, and a metal twist tie (the same kind that are used in produce departments to keep bags closed. I find the place with the frass, I cut it open along the grain of the vine, I quickly extract the caterpillar with the needle, then I tie the vine back together with the metal twist tie. 

Squash Vine Borer Larva
Squash Vine Borer Larva destroy the Squash Vine

Zucchini is very prone to immediate death from the Squash Vine Borer, as there is usually only one stem and one root system. Rounde De Nice is the only zucchini variety I have found that is resistant to the squash vine borer because it roots along the stem. Should you know of any zucchini varieties that re-root along the stem like Rounde De Nice please let me know.

This newly hatched borer was still lethargic


  1. I hope this moth is not in your garden. And I hope since I am up N I will never see it.

    1. I've had it many times, but I haven't grown any squash so far this summer so no squash vine borers. (=

      The almost 100 pounds of squash that we still have from last fall has significantly decreased my appetite for squash.

  2. Only zucchino or also squash that re-root along the stem ?
    My Moscata squash re-root, is a casual-hibrid born in my garden, is like butternuts quash.
    I can send you the seeds!

    is the squash n°1 in the firth photo.


    1. Dear Pat,
      Thank you for the response. I am seeking for Pepo seed which re-root. I have grown many Moscata which do as you say, but I am only seeking zucchino plants that re-root.
      Thanks again!

  3. I grow Pepo: Milano black, Genovese light green, Long Yellow zucchino and "One Ball"( like a tennis ball) but not re-root!
    I'm sorry!!!


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