Pacific Pests, Pathogens and Weeds - Online edition

Pacific Pests, Pathogens, Weeds & Pesticides

Bean pod borer (037)

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  • Worldwide distribution. In tropics. On bean, including French bean, cowpeas, pigeon peas and yard long beans. An important pest.
  • Caterpillars have two rows of black dots on the back.
  • At first, caterpillars feed in the flowers making webs, then bore into the pods to eat the seeds. Look for frass – waste matter – at entry holes.
  • Cultural control: avoid planting near old crops; handpick flowers with webbing; grow maize/sorghum between bean rows; collect debris and destroy; check AVRDC for tolerant varieties.
  • Chemical control: aim to kill caterpillars in flowers as difficult for chemicals to enter pods. PDPs: neem, derris, pyrethrum, or chilli; use spinosad or Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). Alternatively, synthetic pyrethroids, but may kill natural enemies.
Common Name

Bean pod borer

Scientific Name

Maruca vitrata; it used to be known as Maruca testulalis.

AUTHORS Grahame Jackson, Mani Mua & Helen Tsatsia
Information from Bean podborer (2018) Business Queensland. Queensland Government. (; and CABI (2020) Maruca vitrata (lime bean pod borer). Crop Protection Compendium. ( Photo 1 Shepard M, et al. Insects and their Natural Enemies Associated with Vegetables and Soybean in Southeast Asia, Photo 3 Gerald McCormack, Cook Islands Biodiversity Website: (

Produced with support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research under project PC/2010/090: Strengthening integrated crop management research in the Pacific Islands in support of sustainable intensification of high-value crop production, implemented by the University of Queensland and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

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