Insect Pests of Cucurbits
Most people think the only bugs that are doing damage are the ones they can see. This is actually the larva of a ladybug, and it's a beneficial insect. What this poor devil is trying to keep up with are all the aphids that are literally eating the leaves, or curling the leaves on the plant. If you look at the bottom of some of these leaves there are millions of aphids on the bottom of there. These are born pregnant and they really get into a lot of production in a hurry. And when they are this thick causing this kind of leaf foliage curl a lot of the fruit will drop off if you don't take care of it.
The same thing occurs with peppers that you try to carry through at this time of the year. You begin to see some yellow spots on them and what is causing that is thousands of spider mites on the bottom of the leaf. And, of course, that's an inconspicuous insect as well that you never see. Another thing that we have is broccoli and cauliflower at this time of the year, and there's holes in it. Everybody says that it's those green worms on there, but when you turn it over there are no green worms there. It's the snails eating that, so you need to use a snail bait to get rid of those. And then of course these little trails in the leaves caused by leaf mites.
Some of these inconspicuous insects can be controlled now since our plant doesn't have a lot of fruit on it. Some of the common insecticides, such as Diazinon or Cygon can be used about every seven days and that will take care of them before we really get into a pruning cycle. So don't let these inconspicuous insects ruin your fall garden.
This has been Jerry Parsons Texas Agricultural Extension Service the Weekend Gardener.
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