What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Moth or wasp?
Location: southern West Virginia
July 18, 2011 9:38 pm
I found this bug in my bean patch early in the morning and wondered what it was. No internet search could help.
Signature: Cori

Squash Vine Borer

Hi Cori,
The Squash Vine Borer is a moth that mimics a wasp for protection since wasps sting and moths do not.  The larvae bore in the stems of squash plants including zucchini and pumpkin.  We are guessing that you have some squash growing near the bean patch.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: West Virginia
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4 Responses to Squash Vine Borer

  1. wanjek says:

    Well, I found this site too late. The squash vine borers got all six of my squash plants here in Baltimore. I’ve collected a lot, and I froze them. Can I at least eat them? My rudimentary knowledge of edible bugs suggests that it is safe to eat these guys if their entire diet has been (my!) squash vines.

  2. Dave says:

    Hi Daniel and wanjek,

    As tempting as it would be to agree with your logic, I can’t recommend that you try these guys. Lepidoptera are sneaky, in fact all insects are — evolutionarily speaking, they’ve had a long time to work out all kinds of tricks. For example, there’s some evidence that the viceroy butterfly not only mimics the toxic monarch, but is in fact somewhat toxic in its own right.

    If you know of someone with access to chromatography equipment [I’ve gotten the impression that gas and/or liquid chromatographs could be used to determine the chemical makeup of samples, including toxic compounds, but I could be mistaken about that] then ask them to run a sample and I’d love to hear about the results.

    Best,

    Dave
    http://www.smallstockfoods.com

  3. wanjek says:

    Thanks, Dave. Fortunately I never follow through with my crazy logic. I’ll stick to the 17-year cicada. As for the squash vine borers, I’ll see what the birds think.

    I don’t have access to chemical testing. With these guys being such a common problem, perhaps I can find a university that has tested them. I’ll post something if I learn something.

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