I have a Lonicera ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ vine that gets about 4 hours of sun a day. I noticed that the top of the plant was covered with masses of tiny, white insects. Starting at the bottom of the plant, the leaves had all browned and fallen off. What is the insect and what should I do?
The insects on the new growth and the brown leaves at the bottom may not be related cause and effects. The insects you are observing on the new growth are no doubt aphids. Aphids love honeysuckle and are often found on the new growth causing malformed, rolled up foliage and twisted stem growth. Since they tend to cluster on the tips (and have distorted the new growth anyway), trimming them off is often an effective control strategy. Introducing lady bugs as a natural predator also works. Chemically, a systemic insecticide such as Orthene does a good job, even though the rolled up leaves may protect them from direct spraying.
The brown leaves at the bottom are due to something else. It could be due to insufficient sunlight (honeysuckles do best in full sun) or lack of fertilizer (a balanced 10-10-10 will normally do the trick). If you noticed the leaves with a dusty, white coating before they turned brown, the cause may have been powdery mildew. Honeysuckles, particularly those in shaded locations, are quite susceptible. “Remedy,” a new fungicide from Bonide is quite effective in the control of mildew. It is safer to use and not as harmful to the environment as many of the other fungicides.