Squash Vine Borer Moth
While rarely spotted, this moth can cause big destruction in the veggie garden!
You know when your squash and zucchini vines are growing along nicely, then seem to wilt and die the very next day? The Squash vine borer, Melitta curcurbitae, is typically the culprit. Most gardeners never see the adult moths and so they have no idea they're about to lose their crop. This moth lays it's eggs directly into the base of your squash vines. The larvae then develop inside the stem, eating their way through it until the entire vine wilts and dies. You'll then find a big pile of orange colored frass (the nice word for caterpillar poop) at the base of the stem. This is a serious agricultural pest of summer squash, winter squash and pumpkins. It can also attack melons and cucumbers, although less frequently.