liz1231
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Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:47 am
Location: Orlando, FL

cowpea curculios on beans and strawberries

I am in Orlando, growing KY Wonder Beans organically in raised beds. The plants are doing well and producing well. However, they apparently got infested with cowpea curculios. I believe I brought them in on pine straw, because my beds, dirt, and compost were all brand new. When I see the larvae on the leaves I can kill them, but I know I can't get them all. So far I have not used any pesticides and none of the beans have been eaten. However, I am afraid the bugs are getting worse. Any advice for eliminating them?

They destroyed my strawberries before I figured out what they were.

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rainbowgardener
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 11:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

cowpea curculios

That was a new one on me; I never heard of them. Apparently it's a Southern thing, a kind of weevil, that hasn't made it up here yet (but with global warming, they will probably get here, along with fire ants, etc!).

I looked it up and they sound nasty. The larvae hide inside the bean pods, so aren't very easy to kill. Only two solutions I found that didn't involve repeated application of lethal poisons to your garden (to me counter productive, because they also kill all the beneficial insects that help keep the bad guys in check):

be sure as soon as you harvest, you clear all the debris out of your garden and garden edges. Don't leave grass close to your garden. The adults over-winter in garden debris and then in the spring lay their eggs. But they walk, they don't fly. So if there's no debris close to your garden, no curculios. Keep it very cleaned up.

Garlic extract helps control them. Here's some research on that:
http://www.reeis.usda.gov/web/crisproje ... 08493.html

the garlic and curculios are just mentioned down near the very bottom.

Good luck, maybe others will have more ideas.

liz1231
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Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 2:47 am
Location: Orlando, FL

Thanks. I moved here from Ohio, and the number of additional pests in Florida is mind boggling. Without the winter freeze to kill things, everything thrives. There is no over-wintering because there is no winter!

One of the founders of the Simple Living Institute here suggested spraying a mix of alcohol and water on the leaves and dirt, which I did. It seemed to help some, but it's hard to tell since these buggers are so tiny. She said the best remedy is worm tea, but I'm not brave enough to raise worms yet, so I'm sticking with alcohol for now.

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rainbowgardener
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Location: TN/GA 7b

Glad to hear you found something. Put some peeled and crushed garlic cloves in your alcohol and just let them soak in there. The garlic oil will get dissolved into the alcohol and increase the potency of your spray.

The idea of the earthworm casting tea is just that the healthier your plants are the better they can fight off invasions.

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