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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