9 Plants That Repel Pesky Squash Bugs

Written by Jennifer Geer
Published: March 30, 2024
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If you’ve ever grown cucumbers, squash, pumpkins, or melons in your garden, you have likely run into the pesky squash bug. Their scientific name is Anasa tristis. These gray, flat bugs love to hide in dark places and come out and feast on your tender squash plants. They prefer winter squash and pumpkins, but they will come after your watermelon and cucumber plants with vigor as well.

These bugs are so destructive they can completely wipe out your carefully tended plants, leaving them wilted and dry. The best strategy against these invaders is prevention. Once they are numerous in your garden, they are hard to control. When planning your garden this year, you can get a start on preventing squash bugs by incorporating plants that repel these pesky bugs. Read on for nine plants to repel squash bugs.

1. Marigolds

Orange yellow French marigold or Tagetes patula flower on a blurred garden background.Marigolds.

Marigolds are easy-to-care-for plants known to repel insects.


These bright and cheerful blooms are known to repel a variety of insects, including squash bugs. Plant marigolds in the perimeter of your garden or between rows of crops. There are many varieties of marigolds, be sure to choose a scented type if you’re using it to repel pests. Marigolds need full sun to partial shade and fertile soil.

2. Mint

Mint growing in a plant pot. Fresh green mint (mentha spicata) in a herb garden, UK

This great-smelling herb is so easy to grow that it may spread through your yard if you plant it directly in the ground.

©Paul Maguire/Shutterstock.com

Mint is another plant known to repel many insects. While easy to grow, you will want to be careful where you plant it as it can spread easily, even to areas where you may not want it to go. Mint spreads by its roots, so planting the herb in pots is a great way to keep it from overtaking your garden.

3. Dill

Fresh dill (Anethum graveolens) growing on the vegetable bed. Annual herb, family Apiaceae. Growing fresh herbs. Green plants in the garden, ecological agriculture for producing healthy food concept

This fragrant herb will repel pests while attracting beneficial insects.


Dill not only repels pests but also attracts beneficial insects that will help pollinate your squash flowers. You can grow dill from seed directly into the ground as it doesn’t do well with transplanting.

4. Chives

Chives are resilient and will come back each year in your garden.

©iStock.com/Svetlana Monyakova

This useful herb will come back every year after you plant it. Chives do best in full sun and well-drained soil. Aside from squash bugs, chive plants are known to repel aphids, Japanese beetles, and rabbits.

5. Bee Balm

Monarda didyma (Scarlet beebalm)

This attractive flowering plant is a member of the mint family.

©Vahan Abrahamyan/Shutterstock.com

This beautiful flowering plant does best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Bee balm is known to repel squash bugs and attract beneficial insects. For example, the Tachinid fly is attracted to bee balm. These insects lay eggs on the squash bugs and when their larvae emerge, they eat the squash bugs.

6. Oregeno

The aromatic oregano herb is known to repel squash bugs.

©Artem Kontratiev/Shutterstock.com

Oregano is a strong-smelling, useful herb in the mint family. It will continue to come back every year after you plant it. Squash bugs and other harmful insects don’t like the scent of the leaves. Oregano grows well in full sun and well-drained soil. Its pretty lavender flowers will attract bees and butterflies.

7. Catnip

Plant catnip in your garden to repel harmful insects, like the squash bugs.

©Anna Gratys/Shutterstock.com

Cats may love catnip, but many insects don’t. Aside from squash bugs, catnip will also deter mosquitoes. This easy-to-grow perennial is also drought-tolerant.

8. Tansy

Migrant Hoverfly (Eupeodes corollae) black yellow striped body feeding on golden Tansy flower, sunlight reflecting wing veins shiny protonum thorax dark compound eyes and antennae 2 nd fly red grey

Plant tansy in your garden for beautiful summer blooms that will attract beneficial insects and repel pests.

©Alex Puddephatt/Shutterstock.com

This pretty yellow herb is a perennial in the sunflower family. Tansy has long been used as an insect repellent dating back to the Middle Ages.

9. Garlic

farmer's hand planting garlic in the vegetable garden

This bulbous flowering plant can be planted in the spring or fall.


Garlic is an excellent companion plant for many crops. Easy to grow, it’s known to deter squash bugs, aphids, and Japanese beetles. Plant cloves in your garden where they will get full sun.

Other Ways to Repel Squash Bugs

Old man gardening in home greenhouse. Men's hands hold spray bottle and watering the cucumber plant

Removing the eggs from your plants early on can help prevent an infestation of squash bugs.

©Andrii Salomatin/Shutterstock.com

Aside from companion plants, there are other ways to repel squash bugs before they get a hold in your garden. Be sure to remove plant debris each fall to keep the critters from overwintering and coming out in the summer when your squash starts growing. You can also grow your vine plants on trellises. Squash bugs are less likely to infest a trellis.

Another tactic is to place boards around your squash crops. The insects like to hide under the boards overnight. You can flip the boards over in the morning and drop the bugs into soapy water. 

Remember, early prevention is the key. Keep an eye on your plants being sure to check the underside of leaves for eggs. Squash bug eggs are red and will be stuck to the leaf. If you have a small amount of them, you can hand-pick and crush them. A larger infestation can be controlled with an insecticidal soap spray.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/EzumeImages

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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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