UACES Facebook Life cycle of the squash vine borer
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Life cycle of the squash vine borer 

What is a squash vine borer and how do you treat plants for them?

The squash vine borer is a black and orange moth with a wingspan from around 1- 1.5". 

When will I see a squash vine borer?

Female moths will lay their eggs on stems between May and June. These eggs will hatch into worms in a week's time and bore into the stem they are on.

How do squash vine borers damage plants?

After burrowing into the stem, these larvae will eat the stem for around four weeks, ultimately destroying the plant.

After the plant is destroyed, it will burrow into the soil and emerge as a moth.

What can I do to prevent or treat them?

  • Watch your plants!
  • Squish any eggs or larvae you see with your fingers
  • Cut away any vine that appears damaged and dispose of it away from healthy plants.

How do I treat them?

Insecticides are recommended at the first sign of damage. Some suggestions would be:
-Acetamoprid, (ortho Max Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Insect Killer 0.006%)
-Bifenthrin, (Ortho Bug-B-Gon MAX Lawn and garden Insect killer COnce ntrate 0.3% - Permethrin (Eight Insect Control 2.5%, Bonide Total Pest Control Concentrate 13.3%)

Whatever spray you choose, make sure to cover the vines so its affective.

vertical tall infographic with an illustration of a squash vine borer, eggs on a leaf, squash, and vine.

For more information visit our squash gardening page or contact your local county Extension office.


By Sherri Sanders
County Extension Agent - Agriculture
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

2400 Old Searcy Landing Road Searcy AR 72143
(501) 268-5394