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Small Black Insects on Squash Leaves - How to Prevent and Treat

Posted by SeahawkGardner Washington (My Page) on
Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 21:03

Hello, this is my first post and I thought I would start out with my most troublesome problem with gardening.

Each year my squash, pumpkin and zucchini plants get inundated with small black insects underneath the leaves. They are definitely affecting the plants (likely sucking them dry). Does anyone know what they are? Most importantly how to prevent these and how to treat?

Thanks!
SeahawkGardener


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Small Black Insects on Squash Leaves - How to Prevent and Tre

Based on limited info, maybe flea beetles.

tj

P.S. How 'bout that Russell Wilson.


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RE: Small Black Insects on Squash Leaves - How to Prevent and Tre

Based on limited info, possibly aphids?

Please describe size.
Have wings?
Do they fly?
Did they jump?
Did they make holes?
What else?


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RE: Small Black Insects on Squash Leaves - How to Prevent and Tre

Floating Row Covers may help, if those insects do not come from the soil the plants are growing in.
For help in identifying what you have pick a leaf that has some and put it in a sealable plastic (sandwich)
bag and take it to your local office of the Washington State University Cooperative Extension Service.
Starting with the least toxic insecticide, Insecticidal Soap, spraying may help keep them under control.

Here is a link that might be useful: WSU CES


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RE: Small Black Insects on Squash Leaves - How to Prevent and Tre

Thanks for all the replies so far! Unfortunately, I'm out of season, so I don't have actual information. Just trying to get a jumpstart on information for the upcoming season.

The insects are tiny, size of a pinhead. Super dark black, slow moving. Didn't seem to fly or jump. I've attached a photo that looks very similar to what I'm experiencing. They are always on the underneath side of the leaves. Doesn't seem to have any holes. Leaves get wilty, yellow and brown.

Any systemic solution ideas? Or do I need to spray and if so with what? I've also been reading a bunch about companion planting. Any ideas going down that avenue also would be helpful.

Thanks!
Pete

P.S. tsugajunkie, Wilson is the man!!


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RE: Small Black Insects on Squash Leaves - How to Prevent and Tre

They look very much like black aphids. Are there ants around too? This is my aphid spray and it works on most small bugs

In a spray bottle mix
1/4 cup of mouthwash--the kind with alcohol in it
1 teaspoon of insecticidal soap
and fill with tepid water--about room temperature

Spray in early morning or early evening. You don't want to spray when the sun can burn wet leaves or leave the plants wet for the night so they get fungal diseases


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RE: Small Black Insects on Squash Leaves - How to Prevent and Tre

Thanks for all the advice!


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RE: Small Black Insects on Squash Leaves - How to Prevent and Tre

There is some evidence that the systemic insecticides are contributing to the demise of the bees and other pollinators, so they may not be something you would want to use.
For relatively small infestations of non flying insects such as Aphids the best means of control is simply a sharp spray of water. Alcohol used in many home remedy sprays is an antibacterial and does little to control insects, especially in the small amounts usually used. In amounts large enough to kill insects Alcohol will also kill your plants.
Insecticidal Soaps are contact controls that once dry have no residual affect, but will harm beneficial insects as well as the pests.
Keep in mind that any poison you spray in your garden has the potential to harm every beneficial insect as well as the ones you want to target.


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