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Squash bugs are bugs of the family Coreidae. They are considered the ultimate pest of squash and pumpkins and are found across North America. The squash bug damages plants and acts as a carrier for the cucurbit yellow vine disease bacterium. The species Anasa tristis is known by the name of squash bug, but the name is also used for other bug species in the world. These squash bugs are known to be hosts of various members of the gourd family Cucurbitaceae. The members are referred to as cucurbit plants which contain pumpkin, squash, watermelon, cucumber, and cantaloupe melon.
To control squash bug pests in your garden, destroying crop residues in the fall season can help reduce overwintering adults as it destroys overwintering sites. Crop rotation can also help in removing the pest infestation. Squash bug nymphs are more susceptible to these control practices. Spraying chemicals such as insecticides on the eggs as young nymphs are hatching can also reduce this pest infestation from your gardens. Females of adult squash bugs lay around 20 eggs in a cluster on the underside of leaves.
The squash bug (Anasa tristis) is known to feed on leaves, vine, and fruit. In six to eight weeks, the life cycle of this species is complete. In warmer areas, two or three generations in a year are seen, while in the northern range, only one generation is seen. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts that help them to suck the sap out of leaves of the plant. This causes leaves to wilt and yellow spots on the leaves which turn brown later. The pest itself is gray-brown in color. During winter, squash plant areas, sheltered places, near buildings, plant debris, or under rocks are suitable habitats for squash bugs.
The squash bug is a kind of pest found in crops in North America. The bug destroys plants specifically pumpkin and squash, giving the name to this species.
The squash bug (Anasa tristis) falls under the class of Insecta in the kingdom of Animalia.
The population of squash bugs is not known. The life cycle is very short for squash bugs and the conditioning from squash bug eggs to adults and nymphs is pretty quick. These insects have destroyed crops and plants in high numbers all over the world. To control squash bugs populations, adequate measures need to be taken by people and farmers.
Squash bugs with the scientific name Anasa tristis are found throughout North America.
The host plants of squash bugs include cucurbits, especially pumpkin and squash plants. Nymphs and adults alike feed on these plant species, leaving them to wilt and die. During the breeding seasons, populations can increase and large numbers of nymphs can emerge from squash bug eggs. These huge populations of squash bug nymphs may occur on the fruit of the plant in the fall season. Adult squash bugs are seen living alone around the plant near the ground.
Young plants are more vulnerable to the feedings of squash bugs. As they stay covered in the lower surfaces of leaves, these squash bugs are difficult to control. Gardeners and farmers need to check young plants and seedlings early for the presence of these bugs.
If proper control measures are not taken, the adults and nymphs of squash bugs can suck the life out of the leaves of the plants in the cucurbits family. This makes the plants wilt and change color. This eventually leads to the death of the crops and plants.
Adults live solitary while nymphs are found in groups.
The adults are long-lived with a life span ranging from 75-130 days. The stage of nymphs lasts for only 33 days. Eggs hatch in 10 days.
The life cycle of this species is completed in six to eight weeks. They have two to three generations in the summer heat or warmer areas, while only one generation is seen towards the northern regions. In the warm areas, the first generation of adults create the second cluster and the late-emerging adults are known to go into diapause. Both generations overwinter as adults in dead leaves, vine, under boards, and in buildings.
Egg masses are deposited on the lower surfaces of plant leaves. The egg is flat and bronze-colored. Female adults lay the tightly clustered egg masses on the underside of leaves. A mass usually contains 18-20 eggs in a cluster. Eggs hatch in seven to 10 days. The stage of nymphs takes 33 days to complete and has five instars. Nymphs are of light green color when they hatch. In the second instar, the coloration changes to light gray and the size is increased. A darker gray coloration is seen on the rest of the instars. The younger nymphs are hairy, but the hairs disappear when they molt into adults.
Adults control the population if food and space are adequate.
The conservation status of squash bugs (Anasa tristis) is Not Evaluated. This is a pest that has destroyed a lot of crops all over North America and proper control is needed to reduce the effects. There have been some variants of pumpkins and squash that are not affected by these bugs, meaning some control has been restored. However, these bugs are also the vector for cucurbit yellow vine disease bacterium.
Various practices like destroying the residues of crops, rotation of crops, and spraying insecticides and pesticides have helped. Crops need to be sprayed when the eggs are laid or when the eggs are about to hatch and form nymphs. The introduction of some insects has also helped as they eat squash bugs and their eggs.
A dark grayish-brown to black coloration is seen on the adults. Adults also have alternate brown and gold spots along the border of the abdomen. Nymphs are mostly grayish in color with black antennae and black legs. They are wingless. The thorax and wing pads become more prominent with each molt.
They are not considered cute and are an infestation that destroys crops.
Information on the mode of communication is not available.
Squash bugs (Anasa tristis) are up to 0.6 in (1.5 cm) long with a width of 0.3 in (0.76 cm).
The leaf-footed bug is a member of the family Coreidae and is found all over the world. The length of this species has a range up to 0.75 in (1.9 cm).
The information is not available.
The weight is not known.
Males and females are not given different names.
Right after hatching, they are called nymphs until they turn into adults.
They feed on leaves, vine, and fruit of squash and pumpkin, among other cucurbits like cucumber. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts which help in sucking the sap out of leaves and vines. This makes yellow spots on the leaves which turn brown later. The plant starts wilting and later die.
There are some resistant varieties like butternut, royal acorn, and sweet cheese which remain unaffected by adults and nymphs of squash bugs.
They are not known to be poisonous.
They are not considered pets.
Insect killer sprays among other measures can help kill squash bugs.
An unorthodox way to remove squash bugs from your garden is to let predators live among them. Scelionids (a subfamily of wasps) and tachinid fly (a family of flies in the insect order Diptera) can help. Praying mantis also eat squash bugs, however, they will also kill all ladybugs and other good bugs from your garden.
Ladybugs are not known to kill squash bugs. In fact, the chemicals used to eradicate squash bugs also kill beneficial bugs like ladybugs.
Squash bugs and stink bugs are similar in size, however, stink bugs are rounder and wider. Both give out a disagreeable odor when crushed. Stink bugs also give out thir odor if disturbed.
Squash bugs are capable of intoxicating crops and plants until they die. They are in no way beneficial.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these giant huntsman spider facts and American dagger moth facts for kids.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Squash bug coloring pages.
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