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Mexican Bean Beetle

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Date: May 27, 2020
Agent: Donna Teasley

Hello, this is Donna Teasley, horticulture agent with the North Carolina Cooperative
Extension, Burke Center.

Green beans are up and growing and the Mexican bean beetles are out and they’re hungry! Anyone who’s every grown beans knows that these pesky beetles can wreak havoc in the bean patch. Slightly larger than our familiar orange lady beetles these yellow cousins are voracious feeders. They eat from the underside of the leaf and quickly devour the leaf leaving only the veins behind, giving the plant a lacey appearance.

Gold colored eggs are laid in masses on the leaves and bristly, yellow larvae hatch. Early detection is your best solution. Scout your bean plants and look for egg masses. Pick the egg laden leaves off and destroy them.

Insecticides may be used but many of these products are harmful to the honeybee population. Products containing carbaryl or Sevin are used frequently but are extremely harmful to honeybees. Use a liquid formulation and spray late in the evening. This allows time for the insecticide to dry and form a hard coat. This is much less damaging to the bee population. Organic products such as Neem oil can be effective too but be sure and follow the label.

Remember that low insect populations don’t necessarily need to be sprayed.
This is Donna Teasley, horticulture agent with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Burke Center. If you would like more information about this program, you can call us at 764-9480.