Originally Posted by chicken danz
Last year I bought a whole bolt of wide tulle on the cheap. I had planned to cover my melons and cucumber plants with it to keep the squash bugs out. But we had all that spring rain and my garden got flooded out so they never even got planted. It's light and fine enough it will still let all the sun in and with luck I should be able to use it multiple times. That's been the whole downside to planting melons. And the birds don't seem interested in eating the stupid squash bugs.
Squash bugs are related to stink bugs. That bad smell they give off when you squish them also makes them taste bad, therefore nothing wants to eat them. They essentially have no natural predators. The only possible predator is a fly that will lay its eggs on the belly of the bug. The larvae once they hatch, burrow into the bug and slowly turn the insides to soup, eating them from the inside out until they are ready to emerge. Unfortunately, while all this is happening, the bug is still alive, eating, mating and laying eggs. The larva does eventually kill it but not until it has produced many potential offspring, so the damage to the population is almost nil.
Unfortunately, I doubt the tulle will work to keep them off your squash, as squash bugs over-winter and live in the mulch layer, so they'll come up into the squash plant from underneath it. However the tulle will stop the Squash Vine Borer which is actually in some ways more damaging to the plant than the squash bugs. The SVB is a moth who comes and lays her eggs on the stem of the squash plant, close to the ground. After they hatch, the larva burrow into the stem and consume it from the inside. They disrupt the plants ability to move water and nutrients into the leaves, which kills it. If you ever see a squash plant that looked fine one day and the next day is completely collapsed, you can bet you have SVB's. Last year I cut open every stem on plants like that and pulled out dozens of the grubs - still alive. Now the chickens and turkeys WILL eat the SVB's. They are like a huge, juicy maggot and they'll eat them very enthusiastically.
Last year I checked every plant every day and removed all SVB eggs from the stems and any squash bug adult or egg cluster I could find as well. Nevertheless, they did me in. In spite of literally hours pulling off eggs, nymphs and adults, I lost every squash plant to one or the other - or a combination of them. Therefore, I have no squash in my garden plan for this year.