Saturday, September 3, 2016

Mexican Bean Beetle Infestation

So the thing that happens when you neglect your much-loved garden for weeks, is when the weather cools, it stops thunderstorming, and you have a block of time to really do some work in there, you find a total, complete infestation of insect pests - in this case, the Mexican bean beetle. Most of the leaves on my sugar snaps have taken on that characteristic lacy look, created by the larvae and beetles chomping away - mostly on the undersides of the leaves. We're near the end of the bean season anyway, so after picking the last pocketful of sugar snaps, I figured the best way to take care of this problem would be to tear it all out. Almost every leaf was home to either pupating beetles, feeding larvae, clusters of eggs, or adult beetles moving around! I made a special effort to watch for the faster moving beetles that easily drop to the ground because they can burrow into the soil and overwinter.  I do NOT want this kind of problem again next year. It all - in every stage - had to go!

Clusters of 30-40 eggs, laid by adult beetles as frequently as every 2 days. Will hatch in 1-3 weeks.
Can be squished, but not by me!

Fuzzy-wuzzy was a pupa

Feeding larva with it's black-tipped spines does the most damage to leaves

Adult bean beetle. To be thrown in a bucket of soapy water till drowned. 
Now, on to remove all bean plant debris where the beetles or eggs could be hiding so my garden has the best chance of being pest-free next summer.

Then later, to research early bean plants to try next year. Most of the damage done to crops happens mid-late summer, and I can try to get most of my harvests before that time.

And mental note from here on out: be in the garden more to prevent a few beetles from taking complete control! Not only could my sugar snaps have continued to produce for a few weeks, but oh, the heebie-jeebies when cleaning up.  I don't want to go through that again.

1 comment:

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