What is eating my green beans?

Asked August 21, 2018, 12:25 PM EDT

Hi! Wondering if someone can please tell me what is causing this destruction of my green bean plants? I never see any bugs on them but it started with something chewing holes in the leaves. Then, within 2 days, half of my plants (along with the green beans) are gone. I never see deer in my yard so I’m perplexed on what can be eating them. Thanking you in advance.

Michigan green beans

1 Response

It appears that you may have at least two different types of pests consuming your green beans. The small holes in the leaves are being created by insects, possibly the bean leaf beetle. These tiny insects invade gardens as well as soybean fields. They are only about 1/4" long and chew from the bottom side of the leaves, making them difficult to find. The damage generally doesn't harm the production of beans, and I hesitate to recommend insecticide use on an edible plant. Please see information in the link below.


I'm not clear from your report whether the buds are being eaten before production or if beans are being produced and then eaten.


When green bean buds disappear entirely, animals may be to blame. Several mammals enjoy tender buds and other young bean parts. Deer, rabbits and squirrels may dine selectively on tiny buds. Commercial repellent sprays dissuade these diners for a few days, but many are unsafe for food crops. Cayenne pepper sprays deter these pests, but also deflect pollinators that enhance green bean crops. Fencing to limit access to your garden -- including a top, if squirrels are to blame -- is the only long-term solution. Sprinkle a light coating of lime around the plants to capture an identifiable footprint and build your fence accordingly.

If the beans were produced and then disappeared, say overnight, you likely have a raccoon, skunk or other type of 4-legged critter enjoying them. Additionally, in order to sustain themselves for the long winter, groundhogs will indulge in an eating binge to bulk up. ... They will eat leaves, soft fruits, vegetables - anything green. Peas, beans, corn, and field crops like clover and alfalfa also make tasty snacks. Fencing may be your only option for controlling this type of pest.