beans that don't attract japanese beetles?

pieheart(6)May 25, 2008

Is there a bush bean variety that doesn't attract japanese beetles? I grew pole beans last year (blue lake I think) and the vines were absolutely covered in Japanese beetles. For every one I knocked off into soapy water it seemed that two more flew on. I decided that I wasn't going to grow beans again this year because I don't have the room (we've added squash for the first time), but I do have room for a bush bean plant or two. I really don't want to waste my summer again hunting beetles like I did last year, so are there any types that are less tasty to those little rascals?


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I grew Kentucky Wonder pole beans a couple years ago. They acted as a trap crop and the Japanese Beetles didn't touch my yardlongs (pole), Blue Lake (bush),Cherokee yellow (bush) or Royal Burgundy.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 8:22PM
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booberry85, I have a couple of questions for you about trap crops. First, how far away do you plant it? Second, when you see the beetles on the trap crop do you spray them/kill them so they can't reproduce? Or do you just leave them be?

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 9:09PM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Very interesting, boo. I wouldn't have expected that.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 9:29PM
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It wasn't done intentionally! I had two tepees of beans. The centers of the tepees being maybe 6 feet away. Maybe 6 feet away from that was the start of my bush bean rows. So the Kentucky wonders were maybe 12 feet away from the bush beans. They decimated the Kentucky Wonders, but the Kentucky Wonders actually sprang back after a couple weeks. I do remember spraying them (but I can't remember with what). Whatever I sprayed them with was ineffective.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2008 at 10:06PM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

Booberry, that IS interesting. You made me go back and look at my notes and, sure enough, I planted Kentucky Wonders 2 years ago. And, yep, it was the Japanese Beetle Gone Wild year. They ate everything in sight. Last year I didn't plant Kentucky Wonders and didn't have any beetles to speak of. I never put the two together until now. You might be on to something!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2008 at 12:34PM
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A snap cowpea would probably be the absolutely most effective thing to plant in order to discourage Japanese beetles. But only Zeedman has those, to my knowledge.

I grow an heirloom bush bean called "Fowler," which was actually carried over the Oregon Trail. I got my seed in 1984, from a seminary prof. That's the most beetle (Mexican and Japanese) resistant vulgaris type bean I've grown. Fortunately, I haven't had to deal much with either, for some time now. My Fowler seed supply is almost depleted. So I can't send out any samples at this time. But if you check around, I believe it is carried commercially. Last I heard, Victory Seeds was going to carry it.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 2:31PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

I hope I'm not jinxing myself by saying this. I have a horrible japanese beetle problem on my blue lake poles this summer (and last), but I'm growing Smeralda nearby, and they haven't touched it yet. Go figure.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2008 at 9:23PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

While I grow many bean species & varieties, I don't have Japanese beetles in my garden, so I haven't been able to evaluate varieties for resistance. Glancing at an APHIS map, it seems that my area of east-central Wisconsin is just west of their range... and since they are spreading, they will undoubtedly make their appearance soon. I'm not thrilled by the prospect. :-(

Reading through the USDA data, it seems that traps for Japanese beetles were ineffective - they attracted more beetles than they killed. If the same holds true of trap crops, then planting a variety which is attractive to them (perhaps Kentucky Wonder?) may not be a good idea. The best treatment may be preventative: using milky spore on nearby grassy areas, to kill the larvae.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:32AM
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This year I've kept a coffee can by the fence of my garden, near my pole beans and raspberries. It's easy enough to tap the beetles into the can. Then I shake the can vigorously to stun the beetles and capture more. I've captured quite a few beetles this way.

They have not done as much damage this year.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 8:20AM
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ppod(6 SE NY)

I wished somebody would make an easy-to-use, garden-insect vacuum, electric or re-chargeable. One with a long snout, so reaching wouldn't be a problem; and light-weight; and w/a shoulder strap to help w/the weight and holding it.

Otherwise, I wonder if this tool (or a turkey baster) could be modified for effective manual suction of unwanted bugs (small scale).

    Bookmark   July 20, 2008 at 12:04PM
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I mistook these for bean leaf beetles and now realize I am being attacked by Japanese beetles. I have had some of these make a mess of the top leaves on my Blue Lake beans but they have not really bothered with the rattle snake or Romano beans about 25 feet away. When I found them over the week end I took out 12 of them and then 3 the next day. Yesterday I found 5 all nicely grouped on 1 leaf and into the soapy water they went but that was it.
So I have a trap crop apparently but I cannot tell if its helping or hurting.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2008 at 11:41AM
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