Green Bean Pests - Knowledgebase Question

Plainwell, MI
Question by conkda
September 22, 1998
I went out tonight to pick some of my last green beans and they seem to be infested with bugs that look like caterpillars. They are yellow with black hairs. Almost all of the leaves on my plants are gone. What are these bugs and how do I deal with them? I usually use Sevin powder.


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Answer from NGA
September 22, 1998

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Without seeing the pest it's hard to make an absolute identification, but your description matches that of the Mexican bean beetle larvae. They're yellow with black spines. If you can squish the larvae, you'll keep them from becoming egg-laying adults. Sevin is not the chemical of choice in this case. In fact, Sevin is highly toxic to bees and extreme care should be taken to use it only on plants that are not flowering. Since the Mexican bean beetle larvae are soft-bodied, you can use Insecticidal Soap to get rid of them. Next year plant your beans in a different part of the garden, and cover them with a floating row cover to exclude the egg-laying adults.

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