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Oh, Beans!

I have a couple of small patches of bush snap beans planted for fresh eating and they have been wonderful!


I, also, planted a variety of beans for drying: Christmas lima beans (pole) 

  and cowpeas


and a big bed of black beans.

I thought that I would throw them in and that they would grow without a care. I would get back to them in the fall to pull the mature dry beans off the vine, remove the beautiful clean seeds from the brown crunchy pods while listening to a favorite radio show, and store display-worthy bunches of beans in pretty glass jars on a shelf when the cool weather came along. (So, now, you know a little bit about my fantasy life.)  And, so far, so good…except…


…that the mexican bean beetle (Epilachna varivestis Mulsant (Insecta: Coleoptera: Coccinellidae)) is interfering with my dreamlife. The beetle is in the ladybug family but feeds on vegetation instead of other insects. The beetle looks like a ladybug except it is more yellow/tan in color. The above photo is an image of one of the larvae…before it was squished. Fortunately and so far, the beetles have been attracted only to the black beans. I am keeping a close eye on nearby cowpeas and limas. The snap beans…also, spared…so far. You can see the type of damage that these voracious larvae can inflict on the bean plant. I have a beautiful crop of beans and I’m squishing and squashing all I can to save them. My spirits lifted when I caught this dramatic happening in the bean patch:


One brilliant larvae impaled by a…?  Any thoughts out there as to the identification of this knight in shining armor?

Related post (August 28, 2013,) is here.

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