Every year I am hopeful. And every year something has an orgy on my Cucurbitaceae plants. Last year it spider mites on my cucs. This year, I have aphids and mites on my squash. No fair but I am catching the little buggers early.
First, I noticed the tell tale signs of spider mitage: speckled, yellowing leaves and tiny tiny webish things in the nooks and crannies of where the leaf meets the stem. I soaked the leaves with a high-powered spray of water (spider mites drown easily.) Then I did the paper test: I shook the leaves over a piece of white paper to see what fell off and voila. I found aphids on my squash. The light green hard to see but once you do you your heart sinks kind of aphids.
Both pests respond to insecticidal soap. So, I applied this morning. You have to apply soap when temps are below 85 degrees and this is difficult right now in western Montana. I use a concentrate and hand-held garden sprayer. Insecticidal soap is a good, safe control but it is still important to treat it like a chemical. Especially when toting a babe in the tum–wear gloves, rinse equipment well and keep your animals away from the sprayed plants for an hour.
In other news, my bee house is thriving: