Pests on peas grown in a community garden

Asked May 7, 2015, 6:35 PM EDT

Our community garden is experiencing an issue that the local nursery cannot fully identity, thus no recommendations for a solution. We suspect earwig and have so far recommended Sluggo Plus. It is affecting all peas so far planted. Please advise so all can hopefully resolve this issue.

Coos County Oregon

1 Response

That damage on the peas is from pea leaf weevils. The adults are brownish gray and less than 1/4 inch long. They hang on the edge of the leaf and leave those notches as they feed. The damage looks unsightly, but typically the damage doesn't negatively affect the plants (especially once the plants are past the seedling stage, like the ones in your picture). The adults will die off soon as the weather warms, and the plants will recover and outgrow the damage (plants are often able to compensate for insect feeding).

For next year's pea planting, consider using row covers to protect seedlings from the weevils. Once the plants are past the 6 leaf stage, they should be able to withstand some weevil feeding and the row covers can be removed.

Females lay their eggs along the base of plants. The immature (larvae) are small cream-colored grubs that feed down on the roots. Depending on the population size, the larval feeding can cause damage. Unfortunately, there aren't curative insecticide treatments for the larvae. The best management option is to reduce stresses on the plants.

These larvae will become adults over the summer. They can do some feeding in the fall and then look for an overwintering site. A fall pea crop can also be protected with row covers to get them through the susceptible seedling stage.