The Q&A Archives: green beans

Question: My green beans are popping up but something is eating the leaves, also on my green pepper plants. Should I spray them? HELP!!

Answer: Many of the pests devouring your bean plants are likely to be beetles. Mexican bean beetles, bean leaf beetles and both striped and spotted cucumber beetles love to feast on bean plants. Other bean-eating insects include cowpea curculios, cutworms, bean weevils, leaffooted bugs, leafhoppers and stinkbugs.

Some of these pests, such as the bean weevil, spread to your garden on infected seed. Others, such as the Mexican Bean Beetle, travel to your garden from nearby bean, alfalfa. corn or clover fields. No matter how these pests get into your garden, once they've moved in, they won't want to leave. Because many of these pests spawn several generations of offspring per year, your best bet to keep from being overrun with them is to keep their populations in check. Your bean plants can tolerate some insect nibbling but can't survive a full-on attack.

The first line of defense is to capture and identify the pest. Once you know which critter you're dealing with, you can launch a control strategy.

Best wishes with your garden!

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