Insect on squash leaves

Asked July 24, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

my garden has just about every edible plant possible. These little bugs are showing up on my Japanese "sweet mama" squash. I don't see them on anything else. They seem to prefer the underside of leaves. My garden is 100% organic. My question is whether or not these insects are beneficial or if it's time for an application of neem oil.

King County Washington insect issues beneficial insects ladybugs horticulture

3 Responses

Aren't you the lucky one! This is a type of Ladybeetle that feeds on downy mildew, a common disease on squash plants. It's a perfect beneficial insect for your organic garden. It looks like the Psyllobora vigintimaculata, also known as the 20-spotted ladybeetle, or small ashy-gray ladybeetle. Here is a little more info about it:

Wow! Thank you for the quick response. I am indeed thrilled to have this beneficial bug in my garden. One more question... I have been using insecticidal soap on some plants. I think the soap only harms soft bodied pests but is it safe for my new ladybug friends?

Insecticidal soap shouldn't hurt the lady beetles, but it could possibly harm any of the ladybeetle larvae. They are very tiny, about 1/4 inch, and black and white, and at this point in their lives, soft-bodied. Here is what it looks like: