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A plague of bugs - I'm overwhelmed and need help

17 years ago

In all my years of gardening, I've never really had serious pest problems. Until now. I guess the bug gods stored up all my bugs and unleashed them on me.

I have flea beetles and they love the eggplants, but they really aren't that bad...they just give me lacy leaves. So those guys I can deal with.

But I've got so many leafhoppers (they hop too fast for me to catch one, but I'm sure that's what they are). They seem to be sucking the life out of my tomatoes. My celebrity has horrible looking leaves. In fact, that plant almost looks near death except that it's producing tomatoes. Ditto with my Caspian Pink and Better Boys. The foliage looks horrific, but they're producing.

The cucumber beetles (I can't believe I thought they were ladybugs at first and got excited) have attacked my honeydew and cukes. The cukes seem to be hanging in...for now. I worry about bacterial wilt, though. The melons have some leaves that have lacy halves, but a different kind of lace pattern than from the flea beetles on eggplants. I'm wondering if that's cuc. beetles.

The pepper plants (Gypsy) look okay, but some of the peppers are getting eaten. Don't know what that is, but distressing.

I had aphids, but a good squirt of dishsoap and water spray seems to have gotten rid of that.

I also released lacewing larvae about a week and a half ago. I've put out ladybug juice and I'm tempted to go buy a box of ladybugs.

But I'm using Neem oil rather sparingly (though I've done two good sprays of it in the last week). I don't want to kill off the lacewings, yet I'm just overwhelmed.

I worked so hard to bring in the butterflies this year, and they're loving it (as are cardinals and hummingbirds). I don't want to lure them in as I have and then kill them.

I think I just accidentally sprayed a bee with Neem. :(

I'm so sorry, Mr. Bee. When I sprayed the cuke plant, about 5 cuke beetles flew out of the cucumber jungle. (I'm growing cukes and melons up teepees)

The one melon that seems to be growing is very deformed looking. I've never grown melons before, so maybe they look that way. It has brown bumps on it and is very lopsided looking. It's a honeydew.

As I was spraying some Neem, I did see an assassin bug on a sunflower (which I planted as companion plant to the was killed by aphids and the other survived and has bounced back). Assassin bug is good, right? I didn't squirt him or the sunflower.

Can anyone help me, give me advice, hold my hand? I'm distraught. My beautiful garden and it's being eaten alive. I don't want to, but I'm very close to putting on a mask and just dosing the whole thing in Sevin. That would break my heart.

Should I just keep on with the Neem and dish soap? Add some basil juice spray (saw this on Paul James the other day)? Buy ladybugs?

I'm so worried that Neem is killing my lacewings, and I had so much delight in hatching them and releasing them. It was like fairy dust with tiny spiders.

Or should I give in and haul out the sevin? I really don't want to hurt my butterflies...they make me so happy and they're happy and they love me.

I know I sound like a nut (which I am), but I'm devastated by this. I've never even had aphids before...can you believe that?

Arggggghhhhhhh. help?


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