After this spring, I've dubbed Crab Orchard, or at least Wild Things Farm the "squash bug capital of Tennessee". I practice crop rotation every year, but seems like the bugs have a radar or a spy at my computer looking to see where the squash and cucumbers are going to be planted. As soon as a seed germinates and comes out of the ground--wham! It's eaten. There are times that I've seen a handful of bugs around one plant.
This spring I sprayed rotenone/pyrethrum on the stem and saturated the roots of the plants every 3 or 4 days just until they could get enough size on them to grow, but the challenge of out-smarting these bugs has been, well, bugging me. To overcome a problem you have to "become the problem". So I started thinking like a squash bug. Get to the stem and dig just under the soil, lay eggs and split. Eggs hatch, become larvae, pierce the stem and crawl inside.
I'm always looking for creative ways to use leftover things rather than tossing them, so I had this bag of torn up row cover. I cut the row cover into little squares, about 6" square,
Then I wrapped the stem of my transplants (I started these in the greenhouse under strict supervision) with the reemay squares,
I then covered the reemay with soil and left the stem-wrapped part in its normal position, above ground. Yes, it's tedious, but spraying so much isn't fun either. It's only been a couple of days since this was done, but I think unless the bugs bring scissors with them, they might have a problem getting to the spot to lay eggs. We'll see.