Vegetable Production Guide

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Insect Control

This section was updated - 27 April 2021


Aphids are soft-bodied, sucking insects, yellowish-green to black in colour, clustered on growing tips of plants or under leaves. Severe infestations cause premature death of plants, resulting in lack of sizing of pumpkins and squash. Aphids excrete honeydew, causing growth of sooty mould. They can also transmit viruses.


For chemical controls, see Table 2, Cucurbits Insect Control.


Fleshy caterpillars of various colours cut off plants at or below ground level in spring.


If damage is expected, or at first sign of damage, treat soil surface with one of the products in Table 2, Cucurbits Insect Control.


Spidermites are tiny, 8-legged, spider-like animals. Their feeding causes leaves to become dry and bronzed with yellow and brown spots and covered with a fine webbing. Mites increase in number rapidly during hot, dry weather. There are several native predators, but these may not build up fast enough to keep mite levels in check.


See Table 2, Cucurbits Insect Control.


Springtails are small, black, white, or gray, wingless insects. They have a forked appendage attached under the rear end of the abdomen, which is held there by a clasp. When this appendage is released the insect jumps like a flea. Normally, springtails remain in the soil, near the roots or plant crown, as they feed on organic matter. Their feeding on young cucumber plants causes brown spots on the leaves; sometimes the plants are stunted.


While springtails do not usually cause economic damage, Malathion 25W applied for aphid control may also control springtails.


Small (1 mm), slender insects which feed on leaves causing speckling leaves. Good weed control prevents heavy buildup of thrips. Chemical control is not generally required.

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