What Are Pea Weevils: Information For Control Of Pea Weevil Pests
By: Amy Grant
Does something seem amiss with your pea crop? Perhaps you have noticed insects feeding on the blossoms or tiny eggs on the pea pods. If so, the culprits are very likely pea weevil pests. Pea weevil damage is a major menace to pea production, specifically to garden and canning peas. What are pea weevils, anyway? Keep reading to find out.
What are Pea Weevils?
Pea weevil pests are small, black to brownish insects with a white zigzag running across the back. Bruchus pisorum overwinter in plant debris in the soil and then lay their eggs on the pea pods. Pea weevil larvae hatch and burrow into the pods and feed on the developing peas while adults munch on the blossoms.
The resulting pea weevil damage on the pea crop renders it unfit for sale in the commercial sector and unappetizing for the home gardener. Not only does this pea weevil infestation affect the germination potential of developing peas, but in the commercial arena, costs many dollars separating and discarding infested pea pods.
Control of Pea Weevil
The control of pea weevil pest is of paramount importance in relation to the commercial pea crop industry and it may be of a high importance to the home gardener as well.
Controlling pea weevils in the pea farm may be attained with the use of a dust mixture containing ¾ of 1 percent of rotenone. One to three dustings may be necessary to gain the upper hand on the pea weevil infestation at just the correct life cycle of the pea. The primary dusting should occur when the peas first begin to bloom, but before pods have set.
Successive application should occur depending upon weevil migrations that may afflict the field after the first rotenone application. This same dusting procedure will work in the home garden with a hand duster and should be repeated at weekly intervals throughout the growing season.
For the home gardener, however, the first order of business when controlling pea weevil infestations is to clean and dispose of any debris in the garden where the pests can potentially overwinter. Spent vines should be pulled and destroyed immediately post-harvest. The pulling of the vines before the peas are dry is the wisest course of action, although piling and burning will work just as well.
Any that are left in the garden should be plowed underground 6-8 inches (15-20 cm.). This practice will prevent any eggs deposited from hatching or developing and infesting the pea crop the following year.
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How to Get Rid of Weevils
Weevils are a type of beetle. Adult weevils eat plant leaves during the spring and summer months. However, weevil larvae that feast on plant roots over the fall and winter can actually prove more destructive. But, have no fear if you’re dealing with weevils because we’ve got the perfect solution to get rid of weevils in your garden (and it’s organic)!
How to Prevent and Control Pea Diseases
Eight Tips for Growing Healthy Peas
You have to pick peas and eat them right away to get that fresh-picked, homegrown flavor. That’s why peas are worth space in any home garden. They are, however, susceptible to a number of plant diseases. Before you get out the insecticide spray make sure you know exactly what the problems are and explore the least toxic ways to protect your pea plants.
Chemical-free Ways to Prevent Pea Diseases
You probably know the phrase, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Nowhere is this statement truer than in the arena of plant diseases. Follow these eight chemical-free tips and your pea plants are more likely to stay free of diseases.
1. Plant varieties resistant to the pea diseases common in your area.
2. Remove and destroy (don’t compost) infected plants.
3. Remove garden debris right after harvesting.
4. Keep your garden tools clean.
5. Rotate crops, using a three-year rotation schedule.
6. Keep leaves off the ground.
7. Plant in well-drained soil with good organic content.
8. Inspect plants at least twice a week so you can nip any problems in the bud before it’s too late to save your crop.
Common Diseases of Garden Peas
Despite your best efforts diseases may get into your pea patch. Following are brief descriptions of some of the most common diseases that affect peas as well as steps you can take to control or prevent infestations of the specific diseases.
Various soil fungi cause root rots. Look for discolored and rotted areas on the main root and at the base of the stem. Weak, slow-growing plants are more likely to get root rot than are strong, vigorously growing plants. Excessive soil moisture contributes to root rot, as does plant debris that is left in the garden.
Fusarium wilt causes lower leaves to yellow and plants to grow stunted. Leaf margins curl and turn downward, and the base of the stem may swell.
Anthracnose is a fungal disease that causes dark sores on leaves, stems, and pods. Infected leaves wither and plants die back. High humidity and rainfall encourage the development and spread of anthracnose spores. Staying out of the garden when leaves are wet helps prevent the spread of anthracnose spores.
The appearance of white, powdery-looking mold on leaves, stems, and pods alerts gardeners to the presence of powdery mildew. High humidity favors the growth of powdery mildew, which is rarely fatal to the plants. Keep the soil evenly most, avoid overhead watering, and pick off infected leaves.
Viruses cause a variety of diseases that affect pea growth and production. Aphids transmit the diseases from plant to plant, so it’s important to keep aphids at bay.
Damping off causes seeds to rot and the stems of seedlings to collapse. High humidity favors the development of this fungal disease. Well-drained soil and crop rotation help prevent damping off.
Want more information about preventing and controlling pea diseases?
There’s so much more to know about diseases that affect plants and what you can do to grow healthy peas. Here are websites to explore:
Read all about Pea Diseases from University of Minnesota Extension.
Don’t forget to study up on Virus Diseases of Peas.
nour el deen mahmoud says
I want different stdies about controlling methods soilborne disases of pea as wilt ,damping-off and root rot
could you do me a favor and tell me what are some of the most common diseases in pea plants
Protect Stored Grains from Weevils
Weevils infesting stored grain pose a threat to grain quality and present a specific set of challenges when trying to control these insects. As weevils proliferate across the U.S., identifying, preventing and managing weevil infestations all contribute to maintaining the quality and profitability of your grains.
The primary and most effective means of controlling weevils in your stored grain is to take preventative steps. To help prevent weevil infestations, clean and treat all empty bins thoroughly, including walls, floors, cracks and crevices, prior to loading in grains. For these applications, we recommend applying a tank mix of Diacon ® IGR PLUS and PBO-8 ® Synergist to areas previously mentioned as well as the grain handling equipment.
Do you have untreated grains already in storage with a weevil infestation?
If there are signs of weevils in stored grain, turn and treat the grain with Diacon ® IGR PLUS and PBO-8 ® Synergist or with a rescue treatment of Centynal ™ EC Insecticide and PBO-8 ® Synergist. For severe weevil infestations, consider treating with an EPA-registered fumigant.
When applying Diacon ® IGR PLUS or Centynal ™ EC Insecticide for the control of weevils, it is important to incorporate PBO-8 ® Synergist. PBO-8 ® Synergist boosts the active insecticide ingredient in each product, significantly improving the effectiveness against the difficult-to-control weevil.
As with any effort to control insects in stored grains, a comprehensive integrated pest management (IPM) approach is recommended. The S.L.A.M. approach to pest control involves proper practices in Sanitation, Loading, Aeration and Monitoring. Sanitation practices include cleaning and repairing storage facilities. When loading the grain into the bin, all received grain should be treated with protectants to prevent an infestation. Aeration will keep grain temperatures low during storage. Finally, monitoring the grain helps to stay ahead of potential problems.
For more information on weevil control strategies, download our fact sheet and watch our informational video.
10 Proven Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Weevils Naturally
As disgusting as it may be, we all have ingested weevils along with our food without knowing, whether they be adults or in the form of invisible eggs. You can find them just about anywhere – in your bedroom, pantry, and kitchen. These insects are such a common and persistent problem that there is simply no way of avoiding them altogether.
Causes of weevil infestation:
The weevil bug mainly thrives by laying eggs in whole grains or seeds stored in dark and moist places. Opened containers containing loose edibles and unsealed packets are their way of getting in. Weevil larvae and eggs too can travel far and wide. These tiny beasts have a special love for anything made with dried seeds and for cotton, depending on the type.
• Grain weevils – These are solid reddish brown in color and do not have spots. They have elongated pits on their thorax. The flour bugs cannot fly and are usually found in the colder regions, which also have the largest consumption of items made of wheat and other grains.
• Rice weevil – These are dull reddish brown in color with four faint yellowish spots on the back of their abdomen. The rice beetles have round pits present on the thorax. The weevils in rice can fly, and live in the warmer and moist regions.
• Boll weevils – Unlike the previous two kinds of weevils, these can cause actual damage to property as these primarily feed on cotton. So you can expect your clothing and your carpets to be infested and subsequently damaged by them. Weevils running all over your body would surely not be a pleasant experience.
How to kill weevils?
1. Soap and water
This is the most basic remedy you can try out to get rid of weevils from your pantry, cabinets, shelves, closet, and cupboards. Remove your shelf paper if required. Mix some liquid soap or detergent with water and wash the shelves with it. While cleaning, take special care of the cracks and crevices. However, do remember to dry those places before putting the things back.
Bay leaf, also known as neem, has been used as a natural remedy since ancient times to help get rid of many problems. In case you prefer to keep flour in containers instead of in packets, chances are there would be greater contamination of weevils. Just put some bay leaves inside the loose flour to keep away the weevils. You can also put them in your cupboards and closets.
3. Vacuum cleaner
This is the easiest way to get rid of weevils. Not only that, the vacuum cleaner also takes care of other tiny creepy crawlies like fleas, mites and spiders, along with dust. This means that you would be free of them for quite some time after the cleaning in case of a light infestation. All you have to do is to empty your shelves of stuff and vacuum them thoroughly.
Clove is another natural ingredient that has a large number of uses. The weevils find its strong smell particularly repulsive. And it is very easy to use, making it a very good and simple solution to your weevil problem. All you need to do is take some cloves and spread them over the areas where you believe there are weevils or their larvae. Do this even on possible breeding grounds. Then try covering the area, like shelves, cupboards and containers. You will be rid of those pesky creatures in no time.
5. Wet clothes trap
Weevils have a particular affinity for dark and moist places. They actually find them more attractive than grains and cereals. You can use this to create a weevils trap in many ways. You can just keep a wet piece of cloth at a convenient place in your kitchen. Once it is full of the weevils, you can soak it in soapy water or you can throw it away after disposing of the weevils so they don’t cause further infestation. You can also place a moist piece of cloth in your cupboard and keep it for the night. In the morning, you will find the weevils crawling all over it. Wash it or throw it away after disposing of the weevils as per your convenience.
6. White vinegar
White vinegar, thanks to its acidic properties, is very uncomfortable for the weevils once it gets to their cutaneous layers. So to use it effectively to repel the weevils, rub your shelves with a solution prepared with the help of white vinegar once you are done cleaning them with water or the soap solution. It not only would make the adult weevils go away, but will also destroy the tiny ones and the larvae.
The matchbox that you use daily for a thousand reasons comes with sulphur which is used to ignite the flames. And the smell that is tingly for us is very unpleasant for the little bugs. So what you can do is keep a matchbox in the enclosed areas you believe to be infested by the pests, like closets or in your container of flour and pasta. The weevils will run away immediately. Repeat this technique after few days as long as they don’t disappear permanently.
A little exposure to heat can accomplish your task of getting rid of weevils very effectively. Heat the oven to around 120 F. Spread a thin layer of the edibles and the grains on a baking sheet and put it in the oven for around an hour. You can also keep the sheet in an oven at 130 F for half an hour in case you are in a hurry. In case you are using a microwave oven for the purpose, put the stuff on a glass plate or dish and microwave it for around 5 minutes. However, remember that this is not the recommended method for seeds that you plan to use for gardening, as the heat may destroy the chances of germination. Also, fine grains like flour may catch fire. And microwaving flour is only a temporary solution, and an oven at controlled temperatures is always the better option.
As has already been mentioned, weevils like dark and moist places, meaning that they would be extremely uncomfortable under harsh sunlight. Just keep the affected item, like cotton clothing or a container of flour, under direct sunlight for around a day, and the weevils will run away of their own accord. You can also take help of sunlight to combat weevils by spreading out the grain or the flour on a paper or something similar to the sunlight. Make sure that they don’t get wet due to rains.
Weevils are creatures that cannot stand extremes of temperatures, whether it is heat or cold. So, freezing things that weevils like, for example, grains, flour, pasta, oats, cornmeal and grits, is also a very efficient way. Not only do they die out, but their eggs dry up as well, preventing further weevil infestation. Flour needs to be kept in the freezer for 96 hours before it can be taken out and stored in normal temperatures.
How to prevent weevils?
A weevil infestation is never pleasant. While it is really impossible to avoid weevil infestation at least quite a few times in your lifetime, there are some ways you can adopt to control the infestation. Here they are listed below:
• Purchase the grains in bulk amounts because that way you get to inspect them right at the time of buying. So next time you are out buying the favorite stuff of weevils, like flours, rice, pasta, barley, corn, and quinoa, buy a large quantity after careful inspection.
• Purchase the food in clear packets if possible. That way, not only can you inspect the food while buying, you can also use treatments like sunlight in the case of an undetected infestation.
Needless to say, damaged or opened packages should be avoided at the time of buying.
• Never, ever dispose off your contaminated and wasted food inside the pantry as that can lead to a severe and stubborn infestation.
• If you see your floor being attacked by weevils only a few weeks after purchase, return it if possible as that can happen only if the flour is old and was milled at least six months back.
• Some people also tend to use chemicals like pyrethrin to fight weevils. However, take care while using them. In the case of pyrethrin, remove all loose and open food from the vicinity and clear the shelves of all containers. Do not fail to wait for the specified period before putting the things back.
• Flour shifter can also be used if you have time and patience.
• You can keep small nags of black pepper in your pantry and on the shelves.
So, you see that it is not really hard, overwhelming though the weevils might be. The things are already there in your pantry, so go use them to go weevil-free. All the best!
How to Protect Your Pea Plants from Pea Beetle Damage
Written by The Seed Collection Pty Ltd Date Posted: 13 January 2021
There are countless hungry pests that veggie gardeners need to guard against, with foes such as aphids and caterpillars appearing in nearly every patch. But if you grow any kind of peas, there's one specialist bug in particular you need to be on the lookout for.
The pea beetle, as its name suggest, has a particular fondness for pea plants and seeds, however it will also infest some other legume crops such as broad beans and soybeans. While the beetle is not as widespread as other more general pests, it has the potential to ruin an entire crop, and it's a pest that shouldn't be taken lightly.
Also known as the pea weevil, or more formally Bruchus pisorum, this legume-loving bug is a serious problem for commercial crops. It infests seed stores and potentially destroys the next year's crop before it even begins growing. However, it can also cause difficulties on a much smaller veggie patch scale, weakening plants and reducing harvests, or even preventing them altogether
Pea Weevil Damage
If they infest agricultural grain stores, pea weevils are capable of turning the entire seed supply to dust through their invasive feeding. In the home garden, they're most likely to weaken growing plants by feasting on the leaves, or to spoil harvests through damage either to flowers or the immature seeds in the pods. In severe cases, the whole crop can be destroyed by a combination of the two.
The main signs of pea beetle feeding are ragged, scalloped cuts around the edges of the leaves, along with damage to flowers.
But leaf feeding aside, if you're planning to dry your pea harvest for later use it's important to check the seeds for signs of weevils first. Seed damage can be seen after podding through malformed or missing peas, or by peas with distinctive exit holes left by emerging adults after the insect's pupation stage. Any infested seeds you find should be disposed of carefully to prevent the next generation of weevil appearing in your veggie patch.
Pea Weevil Life Cycle
There's only one generation of the pea weevil per year, which begins with eggs being laid directly onto growing pea pods. The eggs are small and white when fresh, darkening to near black before hatching, and are readily visible with a careful inspection.
After two to four weeks, the eggs hatch into creamish-white larvae which are around 6-7mm long, legless, and curved into a 'C' shape. The larvae immediately begin to burrow into the pod, with each individual eating its way into a single seed within. The entry holes to the seed are tiny and barely visible, especially as the seed continues to grow.
Once inside, the larvae feed on the seed and then begin to pupate, emerging as adults after 40-50 days. As they chew their way out of the seed they create a perfectly round exit hole approximately 2.5mm across, which effectively destroys the seed's potential for germination.
Once they leave the seeds, the adults may go on immediately to hibernate in the soil directly beneath the plant, or if the seeds are in storage, they may remain dormant in place until the spring.
After hibernation, the beetles will awaken and emerge at roughly the time that pea plants come into bloom. They'll then start feeding, with the females heading particularly for the flowers' nectar before laying eggs to start the cycle again.
Recognising the Adult Pea Beetle
Catching the beetles before their eggs are laid is key to preventing a large-scale infestation. Check for adults on the underside of pea plant leaves in spring or early summer, or in the soil below after the harvest.
The beetles are approximately 6mm long, mainly brown in colour but speckled with white, black, or grey. Their bodies are broad and rounded, and like many other weevils they have a short, wide snout on the head. One easily identifying feature is the pair of wing casings which don't cover the whole of the body, leaving the back of the abdomen protruding pointedly behind.
Pea Beetle Prevention and Control
In commercial growing, pesticides are often used to control pea weevil numbers. Fortunately, this is rarely necessary in a home garden. Following some basic tips usually works well enough to keep the beetle levels under control.
- For overwintering, adult pea beetles prefer heavier, clay-type soils thanks partly to the higher moisture levels and lower light. Before sowing peas in spring, till the soil over thoroughly, breaking up clods to create as fine and light a texture as possible. This will help to kill off the overwintering population before you add your plants.
- Continue to improve your soil with plenty of organic matter, to keep the texture light and discourage the weevils from overwintering.
- The beetle's life cycle times the adults' appearance to roughly coincide with the pea plants flowering. If your local climate allows, planting peas early can mean the flowers have been and gone before the emerging females have a chance to feed on the nectar, greatly reducing the number of eggs that'll be laid.
- Likewise, harvesting the peas early before the eggs have hatched can still provide a worthwhile food crop, even if the peas are immature.
- Regularly check your pea plants for eggs, larvae, or live adult beetles. Pick them off and drop into a bucket of soapy water to dispose of them.
- Plants with large numbers of affected pods and seeds should be uprooted and disposed of away from your compost to prevent the infestation spreading.
- Whether or not you have a noticeable pea beetle problem, be extra careful about removing all remnants of pea plants from your veggie patch at the end of each season. Also take care to remove any 'volunteer' plants which sprout from accidentally fallen seeds. Limiting the amount of materials transmitted from year to year will help stop populations from growing to problem levels.
However, if you have a serious infestation despite these measures, then a food-safe pesticide narrowly targeted at weevils can be used as a last resort, bearing in mind the potential collateral damage to other insects in your garden's eco-system.
Unless you're a commercial grower with an enticing seed store, pea weevils may not be your number one garden enemy. But if you let these pests get a foothold, you may find your pea-growing efforts bear less fruit than you hoped.
Over the past decade, pea leaf weevils have made a relentless march across Alberta pea fields. The larvae feast on the nodules of field peas and faba beans, preventing them from fixing nitrogen, which limits growth. To manage pea leaf weevils, growers need to think ahead and make management decisions before their crop goes in the ground.
“There has been a significant range change for this insect, especially in the past three years, and we don’t have a clear reason why,” says Scott Meers, insect management specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry in Brooks, AB.
Since 1997, when the pea leaf weevil was first reported in southern Alberta, it remained for many years south of the TransCanada highway. Pea leaf weevils are now well established throughout southern Alberta, west central areas of the province and as far north as Sturgeon County, north of Edmonton.
“We suspect the milder winters in recent years have facilitated the movement. Regardless of how they are moving, they are reducing yields. In the most affected fields in 2016 we saw damage in the range of 15 to 20 per cent yield loss,” says Meers.
Based on the wet weather in August 2016, researchers are predicting the potential for widespread damage by the pea leaf weevil in 2017. Predictions are based on how many notches per plant were damaged in the previous season. Experience has shown that areas with greater than nine notches suggests a very high potential for damage the following year.
“Seed treatments are the best way to reduce losses from pea leaf weevils,” says Meers. “There is no real economic threshold developed in-season, as once the insect arrives it’s too late to apply a seed treatment,” he explains.
Meers cautions that current studies show minimal economic benefit from foliar insecticides in controlling pea leaf weevils. In addition, foliar insecticides should be applied with extreme caution so as not to injure beneficial ground beetles.
Part of the reason people grow peas is for the crops’ nitrogen fixing properties and unfortunately pea leaf weevil larvae consume nitrogen fixing nodules. “So while there may be some yield benefit to adding nitrogen, it won’t help growers use peas or faba beans to fix nitrogen in the soil.”
Pea leaf weevils don’t fly when temperatures are below about 18 C so during a cool spring their arrival in pea fields may be delayed. If the weevils do not arrive until after the six-node stage, there will be very little yield loss from feeding activity. However, every spring season usually has a stretch of warmer weather that will enable the migration of pea leaf weevils into fields.
“This really is a new pest for many growers in Alberta and there is always a transition period,” says Meers. “It takes a few years of yield loss for growers to adopt new strategies. But given the spread of these insects and the impact they have on yield, managing pea leaf weevils should be part of every pea growers’ annual pest management plan.”