This is the squash vine borer:

Copyright University of Minnesota

This fellow is one of the big jerks of the Midwestern US insect world.

My wife and I decided to try growing a few things this year that we’ve never tried before. Among these new crops was squash. I bet you can all see where this is going. The squash plant was doing beautifully, it got huge and started setting squash at a pretty good rate. Then I noticed that the stalks near the root base were looking strange. 20 minutes of research later I was out in the garden with a sharp knife cutting open my squash plants to find and kill all the vine borer larva that were eating and slowly killing our squash.

I probably didn’t get them all, but I got a lot of the little buggers. After covering all the wounds on the plants with fresh dirt, we get to hope that I got enough of them to make a difference, and that our plants hang in there and can survive the damage. We’ve already lost 2 of the 6 we planted, so we’re not feeling very encouraged about that.

On the plus side, the beans and melons that were planted next to the squash are unaffected and seem to be doing rather well.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?