Who’s eating my beans?

Yes, something has been gnawing on the leaves of my bean plants; in addition to these swiss cheesed leaves, some are curling up – Yike!

I’ve seen this kind of damage in the garden other years, but this time around I have a little more invested in the venture, so I called in RZ for a email pest consultation. Here’s what she said:

Well, aphids will eat holes in leaves, and you might not see them unless you go out at night. Flea beetles will eat holes in leaves, too, but they mostly leave a scattershot pattern. You might notice them jumping around like fleas (though they are not fleas) when you touch the plant. Slugs will eat leaves, but they usually strip the greenery instead of leaving holes. It might be any or all of these guys, since they can be found in pretty much every garden around here. How widespread is the problem? Is there a chance the beans won’t survive? (Also, are they bush beans or pole beans? I’m just curious.)

Also, aphids can cause leaf curl, but so can some fungi.
From the photos, it doesn’t look like the leaves are turning yellow or dying off completely – good signs. Unless things look dire, I just consider some leave damage as part of the cost of gardening. If I start to worry that the plant won’t make it, I might break out the insecticidal soap. (Once you see a fungus, it’s probably too late to do anything but get the infected plant away from all the others.)…”
Since I’ve got probably 6-8 damaged leaves on about 20 plants i think we’re just in the “price of gardening” territory. The plants themselves still look pretty robust, and nothing’s turning yellow. The fungus thing scares me, though. I mean all these plants live together in pretty close quarters. If something sweeps through and kills everything, I will cry.
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2 Responses to Who’s eating my beans?

  1. Uncle John & Aunt Connie says:

    Hi Amy and Family!

    We finally sat down to look at all your terrific pictures and loved reading about your adventures in your hoop house. Don’t you love having all the lettuce? We always feel we are eating a gourmet meal. We’ve been very busy planting out three hoop houses and are hoping this assures us of some tomatoes this year!
    You may have Mexican Bean Beetle attacking your Fortex beans. You can pick off the beetles which look like brown ladybugs or look for yellow fuzzy larvae or egg masses on the underside of the leaves. I usually use insecticidal soap too. You have to be right on them because they can also eat the beans you are trying to produce!
    I am done with school now except for a 3 day in-service next week and I can hardly wait to devote my days to the garden . Uncle John is consumed with Camp Sancta Maria right now.

    Love to you all!!

    • awhitesall says:

      Thanks Aunt Connie, I’ll inspect those beans a little more. I almost hope it is Mexican Bean Beetles, because you just don’t get a much better title for a blog post than “Attack of the Mexican Bean Beetles!”
      Yes, we’re loving fresh lettuce and I realize it’s turned me into even more of a lettuce snob than I already was. I bought some at the store because the recipe called for romaine; it tasted like nothing and felt like leather. Gack!

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