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What's eating my beans, fennel...and well everything now!

Please help, some thing has been eating my runner and french beans and now has moved onto my fennel. I am new to gardening and these are all patio pot plants. At first, big chunks of leaves were being eaten and I thought this was just slug damage so I've set some beer traps and they seems to be working nicely with the slugs. However, things have got worse with whole stalks being chewed in half and any new small beans turn yellow and drop off. I spotted what I thought were a few spiders and I've found a picture of what looks similar certainly in colour and pattern (see below). If it is this type of spider could this be doing the damage? If not, what else could it be? A lady at work today suggested it could be vine weevels but googled these and I haven't noticed any insects that look like these. Please help! I would really appreciate any advice. Thankyou. ellie




  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619
    Well I can say it's not spiders and it's usually the grubs of vine weevils that do most damage, and that is to the roots, not leaves. Think the most likely culprit is slugs/snails. They've had a bumper season this year.
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  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,055

    Think you may have several problems here - it's probably been slugs and snails that have been eating the leaves.  The spiders are doing no harm at all - amazing creatures - think they're the Garden Orb spiders who spin huge webs at this time of year.

    The problem of your little beans going yellow and shrivelling and dropping is lack of water.  Once they are fruiting, beans need their roots to be kept really quite damp - my runner beans are planted in rows in the garden on free draining soil, and until the downpour two days ago I've been giving them a good soaking twice daily.  

    Beans in pots will need lots and lots of water, and probably spraying the foliage  with water on hot sunny days would be helpful too as it will slow down the transpiration of water from the leaves.

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Pennine PetalPennine Petal Posts: 1,540
    I have little blue grey caterpillars munching away at the moment.
  • higgy50higgy50 Posts: 184

    I would go with slugs and snails as I have the exact same damage on my beans which is most cetainly snails as I keep finding them 6foot up when picking beans!!

    Still determined not to use slug pellets and my army of toads have recently been joined by a hedgehog so here's hoping a few more slugs disappear now!!


  • Thanks eveyone for your speedy responses and advice. I shall consider the spider my new friend and try not to be in any way petrified of him! My new beer traps are working really well for the slugs but I think there's something nasty in the soil. I'll go to my local garden centre and try and ask for something organic that will kill them. What ever they are they're eating the roots of my fact I'm not overly sure how my fennel plants are staying upright any more! My current thoughts are that they're spider mites because they're really tiny and red with a couple of larger black ones (which may be the adult females). Can anyone confirm that spider mites eat the roots of plants? Also...are they resistant to the poison in rhubarb leaves?! Thank you all so much - Google is strangely sparse regarding a few of these basics. Cheers x

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,637

    Get some Provado treatment for vine weevil.  The adults eat leaves and the grubs eat roots.  If you pull up one of your plants and find curved, white maggot like creatures, they are vine weevils and need killing off before they infest your garden.  You can also collect the grubs and put them on a tray for the birds to eat.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Aaargh No!!! Provado vine weevil treatment must not be used on vegetables!!!! It's a systemic insecticide, and regardless of whether you want to poison your pollinating insects, the instructions state that it is not to be used on edible crops.

    I have used Nemasys nematode treatment for vine weevils - seems to be working!

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,637

    Sorry, should have said she'd need to pick everything first and then destroy the evil munchers.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • All my veg has been protected by a very fine netting called 'enviromesh', but still I have come across holes or chunks missing from the leaves. I am confident it is not slugs & snails because it is tightly pinned to all my raised beds, and I have never come across any when I have gone inside. What it is, I don't know, natural causes I suppose. 

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