Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > July 2016 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--Excuse Me, Mr. Aphid, I Was Here First

BONNIE'S GARDEN--Excuse Me, Mr. Aphid, I Was Here First

I saw my first squash bug yesterday.  I saw a young nymph (they’re usually light gray/white in color) crawling up a stem looking for a yummy leaf on which to lay her eggs.  Thankfully I got to her first and showed her exactly where I wanted her to go…    
  
As much as I love my home-grown veggies, insects seem to love them just as much. As always, the best defense is following good garden practices—keeping weeds and debris out of gardens, allow adequate air circulation, etc.  When I’m out watering, I check the undersides of leaves for eggs and keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t look right—from holes in the leaves to leaves that are a weird shade of green.
 
Some of the more common veggie pests are:
 
APHIDS—Little oval insects that come in several colors and congregate on new growth and flower buds. They are plentiful—and can transmit plant diseases.  However, they are easily washed off or can be treated with a mild organic pesticide. 
 
CABBAGE LOOPERS—Green inch-worms that prefer cabbage family members (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc.) Loopers are easily picked off. Destroy eggs when you find them. 
 
CUCUMBER BEETLES—Yellowish-green with dark stripes. They spread disease so inspect plants often. If you had beetles last year, then plant cucumbers later this year so that your neighbor’s earlier crop will get them instead of yours. They hatch in mid to end May. If you plant later, you can miss them altogether.
 
MEXICAN BEAN BEETLES—Look like yellow/brown lady bugs and the larva are yellow and spiny. Look for yellow eggs on the undersides of leaves laid in clusters of 30-40. While they prefer beans, they can be found on peas, squash or tomatoes. Handpick adults and remove eggs. If necessary, insecticidal soap or neem oil may be used—particularly on the undersides of leaves. Bush beans are less likely to get them.
 
SPIDER MITES-Tiny little mites that suck the chlorophyll from leaves.  You’ll notice the leaves looking “stippled” and find white webbing on the back.  If you’re not sure, take a piece of plain white paper to the garden and place under a leaf, then tap the leaf.  Look at the paper.  If you have spider mites, you’ll notice tiny little reddish-brown specks moving across the paper.  Any organic spray (insecticidal soap, Pyrethrins, or Neem oil) will work.  As always, spray in the evening just before dark.
 
SQUASH BUGS—Light to dark gray and look similar to a stink bug. The best defense is to keep gardens free of debris. You can trap by laying out newspapers during the day. Squash bugs will congregate underneath. If you do use pest controls, be sure to apply just before dark to avoid killing bees. Check leaves often for reddish brown eggs (laid in clusters of 10 to 15) and pick off with the sticky side of duct tape. 
 
SQUASH VINE BORER—Caterpillars that bore into the stems which begin wilting at the tips.  It will eventually kill the entire stem. Spray stems with insecticidal soap weekly or wrap stems in foil or strips of muslin or pantyhose. Cover stems with soil at various points along its length to induce rooting. If the borer does get in the crown end stem, if the middle of the stem has roots, the ends will continue to grow.
 
STINKBUGS—Resemble squash bugs but stink bugs tend to prefer tomatoes and fruit. Pyrethrins are fairly effective against stink bugs, applied late evening. Keep your garden free of debris.
   
TOMATO HORNWORM—3 to 4” long green caterpillars that feed voraciously on tomato family members. The best control is to hand-pick. If they have white eggs on the back, leave those as they are hosting the eggs to parasitic wasps. Just move to the bottom of the plant so they don’t munch new buds.  
 
WHITEFLY—tiny white insects that you’ll notice flying off the plant when you move the foliage.  Insecticidal soaps can help; however, try to disturb the leaves as little as possible or they’ll just fly off.  They’re attracted to yellow, so yellow “sticky” traps work well.
 
There are many other insects out there just waiting for a chance to pounce on my veggies.  I’m just going to be sure I get there before they do.
Posted: 7/18/2016 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
Filed under: bonnies, garden, pests, vegetable
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