Garden Pea Pests

Written by kelli fuqua
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Garden Pea Pests
Recognising pests can help your garden produce a bountiful crop. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Nothing is more frustrating than taking the time and making the expense to plant a garden, only to have it ruined by pests. Though pests vary by region, there are some common pests that affect peas and pea pods. If you know what you are looking for you might just be able to save your crop.

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Common Pests for Peas

Four categories of insects may try to destroy your pea crop. The first are the sap-sucking pests that cause damage to the stems and leaves. You will notice discolouration of your stems or curling and defamation of foliage. The second group feeds on the foliage of the plant. With these pests you will notice holes in the foliage or bumps from where the insect has mined its way through the plant. The third category consists of the insects that feed on the pods. Here you will notice damage to the pod itself. The fourth category of pest eats the roots of the plant. Your plant will lose pigment and have a sickly look.

Recognising the Sap-Sucking Pest

Usually you notice the damage before you notice the pest. However, recognising the offender can sometimes prevent the damage in the first place. Aphids are the most common sap-sucking offenders. They feed in colonies and are recognisable by their pear-shaped bodies. They are usually wingless. Pea aphids are black with white legs and are about 1/10 inch long. Nymphs (babies) are pale green and blend into the plant easily.

Recognising the Foliage Nibbler

The pea leaf weevil is a cross offender. The adults feed on the foliage; the young feed on the roots. The adults are winged pests with parallel striations on their wing covers. These light brown bugs are slender and have a short snout. They have three rows of scales running down the centre of his thorax. They feed on the leaves of pea plants leaving a scalloped edge to the leaf.

Pod Pests

The cowpea curculio is one of the most destructive pests of pea pods. The adult is oval shaped and humpbacked. It has a bronze colour on the body with a black snout. It is about 1/4 inch long. They damage the pod by puncturing it to lay their eggs. Damaged peas often have dark spots and often contain grubs.

Recognising the Root Chewer

The most common root offender are the pea leaf weevil larvae. The adult is light brown in colour, with rows of scales down the centre of his body. This is a winged insect that burrows beneath the soil to leave its young to feed on the rhizobium (bacteria) root nodes on peas. Its larvae are milky white and C-shaped. They have no legs and are up to 1/5 inch long.

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