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In the past two weeks, several gardeners have asked about stink bugs on tomatoes and squash bugs on squash plants. Both are members of the order Hemiptera and are considered true bugs because of certain characteristics, including their piercing mouthparts, which allow them to suck the juices from their prey. Both emit a foul odor when crushed.

Squash bugs attack members of the curcurbita family, which includes squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, watermelons, and muskmelons.The long, slender adult squash bugs are dark brown, black, or gray with orange stripes on the sides, and about ½ to ¾ inch long. The immature nymphs are pale greenish-gray with black legs.

If you don’t see any bugs on your squash plants, spray the undersides of the leaves with water. Nymphs and adults may emerge. Both nymphs and adults damage plants by piercing leaf and stem tissue and injecting their toxic saliva before sucking out the plant fluids. The leaves turn yellow and dry up, and the plant dies. Seedlings an...

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