Aphids are absolute proof that little things DO matter.
I loathe these little buggers. In our climate, an aphid infestation can decimate a crop in about 48 hours, or so it seems. First signs are yellowing leaves, and then by the next day there’s the shiny gooey stuff on the leaves below or next to the infested plants. By the third day, flowers were dropping and by the fourth day the little cucumbers were clearly stunted and were not going to grow anymore.
If you don’t know anything about aphids, Virginia Cooperative Extension has a nice summary. I don’t live in Virginia, but the issues are the same and Extension services are always a good place to get reputable information.
I’m hesitant to spray anything on the garden at all, even insecticidal soaps that are approved for organic gardening because of killing or repelling beneficial insects too, such as the lady bug larvae that eat aphids, parasitic wasps and of course bees that pollinate.
This particular death in the garden also coincided with a busy time at the “paid” job when I wasn’t paying as much attention to my plant babies as I should have been. Sorry cukes!
As I replant and rotate (year round growing requires this) I’m working in more integrated pest management than before which includes planting more flowering plants and herbs to draw in the beneficial insects and also bait for the ants around the garden who are farming those aphids and assisting with their hostile takeover.
However, it pays to continue to water a plant that you think you killed! The aphids also dug into my squash which surprised me as typically they only like the cucumber. The plant was weakened but sprouted this little squash anyway and it is large now and ready for picking.