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The Squash Bug Observations And Field Studies

Squash stink-bug adult and nymph extracting sap from squash.

Plant a few squash hills in the garden in the spring and also plant a few seeds in rich dirt in discarded tin cans or flower pots. As the spring advances and the squashes start to vine watch for squash bugs on them. Examine in piles of lumber, stove wood and under bark for some of the bugs before they come to the squash hills. If any are found put them on the squash plants in flower pots and cover them with a pint mason fruit jar. Watch for eggs to appear on the plants and also examine for eggs on the squashes in the garden. When eggs appear examine them carefully, measure them and write a brief description of them. Try to mash them between your fingers. When they hatch carefully study the young nymph and describe it. Can you see the slender beak which incloses the mouth parts? How many joints are there to the antennae? As the nymph grows watch it shed its skin. How does it do it? Where does its skin first crack? Save the cast skin and try to follow the nymph thru all the nymph stages to the adult. Collect a bottle of the nymphs of varying sizes from the garden. Examine them and describe the different stages. Can you see the wings forming on the backs of the older nymphs? How many small wing pads are there? Examine the adult closely and write a careful description of it. Can you find where the secretion that causes the odor is produced? How long will the odor stay on your hands? Can you wash it off? Spread the wings of the adult and make a careful drawing of one front and one hind wing showing accurately the wing veins. In the garden try to protect all the hills of squash from the bugs except one or two used for your studies. Write a brief description of your methods of control.

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