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Garden Tip: Thwarting Weevils
by Hunter Flynn from Common Ground Mini-Farm in Willits

Ecology Action Headquarters

Keeping weevils from boring into newly harvested beans is one of the biggest challenges in the long-term storage of beans. With a freezer you can put all of your newly harvested dry beans in a plastic bag and freeze them for a period of 24 hours. This is enough time to kill any of the weevils that could potentially bore into your beans. But what if you don't have access to a freezer or enough freezer space to fit all those beans?.

Fortunately, Martha Quentin, a Tanzanian graduate student at Michigan State has developed an easy, low-tech way of preventing the weevil from eating into your yield. She found it takes about 20 hours for a weevil to bore entry into a bean, and the weevil overall has enough energy stored to spend up to 28 hours working to get inside. So she tumbles the beans twice a day by rolling the barrel or bag. Suddenly after 12 hours of work the weevil's world is turned upside down and it has to start over with a new bean. Twelve hours later it happens again. Now it only has enough energy to keep working another four hours, so it dies without a meal.

The tumbled containers had 97% fewer weevils than were found in stationary containers. After only two or three days, the larvae (except for the very few that managed to enter the bean) either starved or were crushed by the tumbling. This is a simple method that can make a big difference in the storage and health of your beans.

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