Something eating the tips of my bush bean plants - possibly chipmunks?

Discussion in 'Gardening' started by Blackberry18, Jun 24, 2016.

  1. Blackberry18

    Blackberry18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was looking at one of my gardens today and realized that a fair number of my bush beans had bitten-off stems on them. Anyone know what this could be? I have reason to suspect chipmunks; the pests always wreck havoc on our flower garden and eat all of our birdseed. I've killed and trapped a few of them, but they seem to never end! Any advice?
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Could be chipmunks, squirrels, groundhog, rabbit, rat, deer... Keep trapping, practice your shooting skills if that's an option. Bait stations... well secured so non-target animals can't be harmed.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Are the bean tops totally gone or are they laying on the ground? I’d add cutworms to LG’s possibles list but “a fair number” indicates it’s more likely something bigger. I’ll also add birds. Some birds can nip plants as they sprout. Corn and crows are the ones most mentioned but others like ravens or even blue jays can be culprits and it’s not always corn. Gophers are a real possibility too. A guy on the sister gardening site had a huge problem with gophers in his beans. He lined the bottoms of his raised beds with wire mesh to keep them out.

    A few years back I had a rat doing that. Every morning two or three bean plants would be cut off at the ground and the tops gone. That rat was just going straight down the row, two or three a night. If I hadn’t accidentally seen him out there in the afternoon I don’t know if I’d have ever figured that one out. I was not thinking rats. But he was fairly easy to trap.

    At different times I’ve seen what I think you are describing if you are talking about them pretty much as they sprout. Other than that rat, it’s always been rabbits for me. This year I legally imported some bean seeds from Canada, I wanted to try a certain new green bean (Blue Jay beans). I got 30 seeds and they all sprouted. A rabbit bit off most of them before I finally shot it. I have 13 plants left, plenty to save seeds from, but a couple of those were bitten and appear to be sprouting back out. It’s not a disaster but boy was I mad.

    A few years back a rabbit was doing that to my Blue Lake bush beans pretty much as they sprouted. I shot 16 rabbits out of my garden before I got the one that was eating those beans. I was shooting two rabbits or more every evening in that garden until the bean eating finally stopped. I’m sure not all if those rabbits were eating those sprouts, but I believe in guilt by association.

    A few years back a ground hog was eating the leaves off of some pole beans I was growing on my garden fence. It did not bite through the stem, just ate the leaves and beans within easy reach. Those beans still produced fairly well up high but anything low was eaten. I’ve also had deer eat leaves and beans off the outside of my fence but that hasn’t been nearly as big a problem as I feared.

    I cannot discount anything on LG’s list. They are all possible. It really helps to know what you are dealing with so you know how to deal with it. Some are easy to trap or shoot, others not so much. Figuring out what is doing it can be a challenge. You might try dusting a piece of cardboard or plywood with flour to see if you can get some tracks. There are sites on the web where you can see the differences in critters tracks.

    Good luck! It’s a good life if you don’t weaken but I’ll admit, occasionally I weaken.
     
  4. Blackberry18

    Blackberry18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the info! The beans were nearly fully grown when I first noticed, and it's the leaves that are being eaten. I see a few on the ground, but not enough for the damage, so something is eating the leaves. They look chewed off. Also, I've seen chipmunks going through there, but I found a hole big enough for anything. I also have tomatoes, peppers, and carrots in the garden, but none of those have been touched. Could it possibly be moles? I thought I saw some tunnels through my garden a few weeks ago, but I flattened them done and they haven't reappeared.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Moles don’t eat vegetation, they are after grubs or earthworms. Voles can be a problem but I find they eat underground, like chew up my sweet potatoes.

    Kind of sounds like a groundhog to me if you are sure it’s not deer. Groundhogs are tough to deal with but finding their den can help. Of course it still could be chipmunks, squirrels or something else. Was that hole in the ground or in a fence?
     
  6. Blackberry18

    Blackberry18 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The fence. It needs to be replaced, but I'd thought I use it one more season, but I've never had anything in that garden with that fence before. This year, I've seen the chipmunks in and out, but haven't actually seen them eating my plants, but I'm just assuming.
     

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