caterpillar like creature

kendra2003July 18, 2013

Last year my beans were destroyed by mexican bean beetles. I grew them on the opposite side of the house this season, and now there is some creature that looks like a green caterpillar eating holes in all the beans. It has not touched the leaves at all. Just sticks its head into the bean and munches holes in it. I pulled this one's head out and took a picture. Anyone know what this is? My beans are ruined. They're completely full of holes. I've searched the web and can't find any reference to this critter and holes in the beans.

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catherinet(5 IN)

Cotton square borer?

Sorry I can't figure out how to make this linkable.

This post was edited by catherinet on Thu, Jul 18, 13 at 20:08

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 8:07PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

I agree, it looks like the right suspect. Here is the link:

Cotton square borer

This post was edited by zeedman on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 0:56

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 12:55AM
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Thank you so much for the ID. I just haven't had much luck with beans these last few seasons. I grew them for years without any problem, and now I end up with a caterpillar that likes to chew holes in them. The link says it rarely does severe damage to the plant. That is true. The plants look great, but he beans are inedible. These are plain old green beans by the way. The link says they like lima beans. I guess I just got unlucky. Thanks again for your help.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 3:55PM
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catherinet(5 IN)

Can you attract more birds to around your garden, and maybe they would take care of them for you?
Also, you could pick them off and throw them away from the garden.
Maybe you could find out what the eggs look like and pick the eggs off the bean plant, before they turn into caterpillars.

This post was edited by catherinet on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 18:00

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 5:58PM
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How about dill, cilantro and Queen Ann's Lace gone to flower? Add to those, broccoli, radish, fennel, and whatever produces small flowers going to seed. Feed the cat predators that feed on small flowers for as long as you can and the cats will become less common. I love to see the black shells of parasitized cats around my garden. That means my bug patrol has successfully reproduced. Anyway, it has been working for me for many years. I have huge amounts of Queen Ann's Lace growing around my pond.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 7:42PM
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zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

You might laugh (or cringe) but I would recommend attracting more wasps to your garden. I have a lot of weathered wood on my property - and near my rural garden - and have numerous paper wasps in both locations. They patrol the garden relentlessly, looking for caterpillars... which is probably the reason I seldom find any. They will browse on aphids too (a story for another thread).

I grow a lot of yardlong beans & cowpeas, and once they begin to bloom, they will attract wasps in large numbers... which aside from the fact that I enjoy eating yardlongs, is the reason I grow so many of them. Yardlongs also attract lady bugs & keep them in your garden, so they are good plants for attracting beneficial insects.

Paper wasps are not aggressive, you would really need to be threatening them to get stung. The only time I've been stung was when a wasp was on the backside of a yardlong I was picking, and I actually grabbed it. Even then, the sting was only minor, and the wasp did not even appear to be angry (can wasps give a warning sting?).

I should note that I do NOT tolerate a hornet nest anywhere near the garden; those will sting even when unprovoked. Hornets & yellowjackets do show up sometimes on the yardlongs, but the nectar produced on the flower stalk seems to pacify them.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2013 at 12:09AM
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