Nymph: Science vs Mythology

pumpkin turning orange

Pumpkin beginning to turn orange

A mythological nymph is:

a minor female nature deity typically associated with a particular location or land form. Different from goddesses, nymphs are generally regarded as divine spirits who animate nature, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young maidens who love to dance and sing; their amorous freedom sets them apart from the restricted and chaste wives and daughters of the Greek polis. They are believed to dwell in mountains and groves, by springs and rivers, and in trees and in valleys and cool grottoes.


Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any of those in the garden. On the other hand, a biological nymph is:

the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis (hemimetabolism) before reaching its adult stage.[ Unlike a typical larva, a nymph’s overall form already resembles that of the adult. In addition, while a nymph moults it never enters a pupal stage. Instead, the final moult results in an adult insect.


With all my due diligence, I missed a few of the squash bug eggs. The following video tells the rest of the story:

I removed the offending nymphs and even more eggs this morning, but it was impossible to get all of them. I’m going to figure out a way to create a barrier between the pumpkin and the bugs without harming the bees or the plant.  Stay tuned.

Freshly hatched squash nymphs

Freshly hatched squash nymphs

Squash bugs overrun a pumpkin leaf

Squash bugs overrun a pumpkin leaf

removing squash bugs

Squash bugs: off the vine and into the bucket

21 thoughts on “Nymph: Science vs Mythology

  1. Wow! I’m glad I haven’t seen these here or maybe I haven’t been looking hard enough. Some of my pumpkin leaves are dying back sooner than I would have expected. When a leaf is badly infected do you just take of the whole leaf and destroy it?


    • Christina, that’s what I’ve been doing. It’s good if you catch it early. They’re generally on the back side of the leaf, but I’m also finding them on the stems and the trellis! They are prolific.

      Flip over every single leaf and inspect the underside. They’re always on the bottom.


  2. Oh, aren’t they horrid Alys! I do hope you manage to get rid of as many as possible and save your pumpkins! We have some pretty destructive creatures as well as the pretty ones to deal with! Good luck!


    • Thank you, Cathy. After this season, I’m going to take a year off from growing pumpkins, hoping that I can end the cycle. They wintered over last year (it was both mild, and dry). Even though I planted in new soil, and in a completely different part of the garden, they managed to find the squash. Ugh!


  3. Triple Gads, that has left my skin crawling, how on earth would you ever get rid of all of them? I read your feed on FB with Fran and Candace and I can’t say I would be as compassionate to relocate to a field. Sorry hon, you now know the cold hard truth, I’m a monster :/ Your poor pumpkins must be quivering in their boots. Will you just pick them early? I always love hearing your voice though, even if you’re gently talking about bugs. LOL, I would have been shrieking turning over that leaf and I’m sure the camera shot would have been like running from a wild bear. They are so flippin nasty, do they have any purpose on earth at all besides freaking people out? Do the birds eat them?


    • It’s hard to read blogs by phone, isn’t it? Thanks for reading what you did. The nymphs look like they are half spider when they first hatch. Horrendous is a good word for them Yuck, yuck, yuck.


  4. Yuck! They seem pretty determined to invade…….. did you try asking them politely to leave? I think I’d make a request and if it was ignored I’d blast them with a garlic/soap spray 🙂 But I’m so hard-hearted about infesting bugs 🙂


    • Yes…YUCK!!!

      You know I never thought to ask them to leave, though I dropped plenty of broad hints, like removing them, leaf, stem and all from the vines. They merely scoffed.

      I managed to get to a nearby nursery today to purchase some dill, but it is too darn hot to plant just now. I’ll have to get out there after the sun sets tonight, or early tomorrow morning. Today’s high is supposed to be 94F or 34C.


  5. So far, I’ve left two messages here and neither have stuck? They’re in WP ether somewhere. So if this sounds like you’ve read it b4, you have LOL. I enjoyed hearing your voice, even thought you were calmly talking about bugs. OMGosh, you are so brave. I would have been running and screeching as fast as my little feet could move. I will take a mouse over a spider any day. They must overwinter in the soil? Do you think? They’re just the most hideous spooky thing ever and so prolific!! Would you consider an Eco friendly bug spray? I hope the pumpkins themselves will survive. I know how much you look forward to them xoxox


  6. Oh, my. It looks like the spiders are taking back the planet in a B-rated movie. Scary! I know what you mean about the heat. It’s been record breaking here as well. Evening is the hottest time here. It reaches it’s peak at 5-6 pm and doesn’t cool off till early morning. That’s when I go out. I try to be quiet. We have this heat until almost mid Aug from the look of it. I’m ready for a break!


    • Yes! That’s exactly what it looks like. Creeeee-pppppy.

      I’m sorry to hear you have another few weeks of the dreaded heat. Ugh, it’s the worst when you are trying to get things done. It really saps my energy.

      Sending cooling thoughts your way.


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  8. Ugh…how absolutely horrible! I think you’re doing the right thing by not planting pumpkins for a year, hopefully that will mean success for you the following growing season. Wishing you much luck – I know you love growing pumpkins, and this is so terribly disappointing!


    • Sheryl, how lovely of you to understand my disappointment. They’re great fun to grow but I think a year off is in order. If this drought continues, I won’t be able to grow any additional plants next summer, so we’ll see where it leads me.

      I hope you are doing well. I’m following my blogs via bloglovin and for some reason your blog isn’t coming through. I need to go investigate.


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