I’ve not started planting seeds this spring. What is stopping me? Everything. First of all we are still getting light frost some nights. Secondly, my youngest labradoodle, “Maddie” thinks my vegetable beds are her own private “digging grounds” and my low pressure plastic emitters her “chew toys”. So last night I put all excuses aside and dug out my seed collection, hoping to be inspired by the contents spread out over my kitchen island.
“What the……..?” I poured out my envelope of snow pea seeds (collected and saved from last summer) and there among the tan-colored legumes was a little weevil. “How did you get in there, and what kind of shenanigans have you been up to?”
A little research came up with the following information. My little weevil was cowpea beetle. Common to California, it is contracted in the field and spends its larval and pupal stage inside the pea, munching away at the tasty interior. It then emerges through a hole on the side of the pea. The cowpea weevil is considered a serious storage pest. “No s____!” Excuse my language but on further examination of my precious saved snow peas, I found many weevils and many empty seeds.
According to the UC Pest Management Guidelines, “Sanitation offers the most practical means of control. Because field infestations originate from beans, eliminate potential sources of weevils in production areas. Potential sources of weevils include broken sacks of seed beans left over from planting; seed beans left in planting hoppers; cull beans used in animal feed programs in a production area; small collections of beans remaining on or in a harvester following harvest; and small piles of beans remaining in or around the field after harvest or in a warehouse area.”
Not sure how I can apply this to my home garden but I’ll be careful to check in on my stored snow peas next year. If the problem continues, I’ll have to BUY my pea seeds next spring! God forbid!