Question: Every year, my zucchini plants are infested with gray-colored beetles that destroy my zucchini. How do I get rid of the beetles?
These are most likely squash bugs. You can verify it by visiting my blog and checking the picture I posted to confirm it. You can plant late, in June, after their infestation time has passed. However, you may have a hard time getting the fruit to set when temperatures are very high.
You can hand-pick them as you see them. You must do this as they appear soon after planting and get rid of them as soon as you see them. Do this for about three weeks, and the numbers will be greatly reduced. Third, you can vacuum them with a handheld vacuum cleaner. They will be on the undersides of the leaves, so look for them there.
You can use pesticides suitable for squash bugs, which include insecticidal soaps on the leaf undersides. Do not spray the plants when they are in bloom. Spray very early in the morning or at sunset when bees are not active.
Bob Morris is a professor emeritus in horticulture with the University of Nevada and can be reached at email@example.com. Visit his blog at
xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com. For more gardening advice, see the Home section of Thursday’s Las Vegas Review-Journal.