The species Anasa tristis is commonly known as the Squash Bug and is found throughout North America. The insect is a pest to all members of the Cucurbitaceae family, but are most problematic to pumpkin and squash. Damage symptoms as a result of feeding appear as wilting of leaves and blackening of the leaf surfaces, thus compromising the productivity of the crop and the quality of the harvest.
The squash bug can be commonly mistaken as the stinkbug, as both species look similar; however, the squash bug feeds on different hosts. The squash bug adult color is grey to black with the edges of the abdomen having orange stripes. The nymphs have a red head and legs with a green abdomen; however, as they age, their head turns black. The eggs of the squash bug are laid in a distinctive V shape and are laid on the underside of the leaves.
Scouting should begin early as the adult squash bug is difficult to control and also to prevent damage to the crop. Action Threshold is set when the average number of egg masses is greater then 1 egg mass per plant. Chemical control should be used when threshold is reached or wilting of plants occurs. It is most critical to scout and monitor seedlings and new transplants as the plants are most susceptible to damage at this stage of growth.