Cantaloupe & Honeydew vines not thriving
My cantaloupe and honeydew vines are not thriving. They haven't grown any in the last 2 weeks. I have noticed that the leaves are somewhat shriveled, there are a lot of red ants crawling over them and the under side of the leaves have something on them. Any idea of what the problem is?
Harford County Maryland
Hi- you have a melon aphid infestation. The aphids are the small, soft-bodied insects and the specks of white are the skins they cast off when molting. They suck plant sap causing the crinkling/twisting symptom and stunted growth. Ants protect and herd aphid populations to feed on the honeydew excreted by the aphids.
We detect at least one aphid mummy (brown, dry aphid with a small hole in the back) which demonstrates biological control- parasitism by tiny beneficial wasps. Check closely for signs of predators eating the aphids:
This aphids page will give you control options: