I might have the same problem as some other posts I've seen here but am not sure... This is about the 5th season harvesting my cascade hops, and I've never seen this before. First, I should say that the plants look great, and I had a huge harvest this year. While harvesting, however, I noticed that some of the cones were dried out with brown tipped leaves and a smaller percentage of these had black spots inside. From what I've read, that could be aphids or spider mites (I did see a few small spider webs, but nothing extensive)...
Since I have way more hops than I need anyway, I decided to just toss all the brown ones and only keep the green ones. I got out two big white plastic bowls and started sorting them. When I was done, I noticed that both of the bowls had hundreds of microscopic green bugs walking around in them. These are so small that I'm not sure I would have seen them if my bowls weren't white and there weren't so many. I left them out in the bowls overnight to get a better look today, and it is scary! There seem to be thousands of the little green suckers and they are piling up on the rim of the bowl.
So, question is: Is this normal or do I have some kind of infestation? My considered plans range from just setting them out to dry and hoping that all the bugs walk away, to destroying this year's harvest and maybe trying to kill all the bugs in the process. Any thoughts? If it is an infestation, should I take some steps to rid my yard of the pests before the next growing season? Thanks for any advice.
In primary: Imperial IPA (with frozen home-grown hops from last year)
In secondary: First attempt at a winter brew (possibly a triple?)