Leafhoppers - what to use?
I've been seeing some pretty bugs on my butterfly weed and unfortunately they're red banded leaf hoppers. Not enough to worry about, IMO. But I'm starting to see some little brownish leaf hoppers in that big garden, and noticing the tell-tale signs of leaf hopper damage. They suck the juice from the leaves, and the leaves get spotted.
I've also been invaded by some Japanese beetles and they're all sexed up, just coupling way too much. I smash them and hopefully can keep them under control by hand.
I also have a zillion aphids on the butterfly weed, but I've been smashing them with a gloved finger and leaving some for the ladybugs. They like them.
I'm worried about the leaf hoppers, though. A couple of years ago, my tomatoes were totally destroyed by them. In this garden, I've got a lot of dahlias I'm worried about, along with cukes/honeydew/squash.
Do leaf hoppers do damage to the curcurbits? I've lost one Blue Hubbard squash, but I'm sure it was a vine borer. I've squirted a little bit of spinosad at the base of the stems. It may be too little too late, but worth a try.
I do know the leaf hoppers can ruin my dahlias if they get out of hand.
What I'm wondering, does anyone have experience with leaf hoppers and what's the safest thing to use on them? I'm not going to put anything on my butterfly weed, because I have a lot of it, and its purpose is...butterflies. I won't do anything that could harm them. (They're the reason I went organic in the first place)
In my arsenal I have:
neem (that I've only used once and wasn't impressed with)
I bought the clay last year, but have never used it.
I was thinking of spraying the clay on the curcurbits as a preventative (and it won't hurt anyone, just makes things not taste good) and sprinkling a light dusting of diat. earth on the dahlia leaves.
I have a LOT of different kinds of bees, but they mostly go for the lavender that is blooming and the blooming sages, plus a butterfly bush. I don't want to hurt my bees. We live in harmony and I love my bees.
I'm not sure the bees go to the dahlias...I've never seen them; they're really into the lavender. That's why I was thinking the d. earth there.