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Detection of a bean pod borer moth, Maruca vitrata, in Florida

Bean pod borer moth, Maruca vitrata, is a significant pest of legume plants (Fabaceae). The caterpillars feed on a wide range of plants in the legume family.  They are currently found in Mexico and other pantropical regions. In Florida, this pest threatens peanut, pea, and green bean crops. They are occasionally trapped in Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. This March, DPI collected an adult bean pod borer at a light in Monroe County. No additional moths or larvae were detected in the area, but further monitoring efforts will continue for this pest.

Photo: Merle Shepard, Gerald R.Carner, and P.A.C Ooi, Bugwood #5368272

Adult bean pod borer moths look similar to other pest moths in Florida. Professional identification is necessary to determine the species. Growers are encouraged to inspect plants for symptoms, such as bore holes in pods and flower drop.

Photo: Merle Shepard, Gerald R.Carner, and P.A.C Ooi, Bugwood #5368273

Caterpillars are cream in color with dark spots. Infected pods will exude caterpillar frass and show signs of decay.

You can read more about the bean pod borer moth in this DPI Alert. If you suspect you have found this moth, please contact the DPI Helpline (1-888-397-1517) or send a specimen to the UF Insect Identification Lab.