The Q&A Archives: Hibiscus seeds

Question: Hello! I have a Lord Baltimore hibiscus which I had saved some seeds from last year. I opened the container to plant the seeds a few days ago and I noticed that the centers of almost every seed had been bored out! I found some small beetle type insect in the container (some still hanging out of seeds). These insects were about the size of a pen tip. I spoke with a friend yesterday and he had the same thing. Can you tell me what type of insect this is and how to prevent it from eating my seeds in the future? Was the insect in the seed pod? Thanks a bunch! Jeanne

Answer: Seed beetles (also called Bruchids) tend to be less than 5mm in length, and feed and pupate inside seeds. They are small, dull gray beetles with elytra not quite covering their entire abdomen. Subjecting your seeds to temperatures of at least 145?F for two hours can achieve control, or you can pop the container of seeds into the freezer for 24 hours, then store it as usual in a cool, dark place until it's time to plant.

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