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Pollen beetles and sweet peas


by Pippa Greenwood

Although pollen beetles are no great pest, they can nibble the edges of unopened flowers. I've seen a few of them about, but for the first time, I've not had to shake bunches of sweet peas to remove whole families...


Pollen beetles in a cucurbit flowerWhat a magnificent year for sweet peas. We've had a constant supply, with bunches of them in every corner of the house. They're lovely, until the pungent, all-pervading pong hits you, when you know you've left them in vase/glass/mug just a few too many hours.

The change from one of the loveliest perfumes I know to one of the deepest-drain-grim stenches I know, is phenomenal. But of course it's the regular picking - largely by my children - which has allowed the plants to keep producing more and more flower stems.

Not all of the flowers are long, elegant show-bench blooms with super-straight stems, but I don't really care, they smell just as fabulous on the plant as in the house. Interestingly, they've not been troubled by pollen beetles this year.

Although pollen beetles are no great pest, they can nibble the edges of unopened flowers. I've seen a few of them about, but for the first time, I've not had to shake the bunches of sweet peas to remove whole families of pollen beetles, or shine a bright light into the blooms to encourage them out. It would have been a waste of time, anyway.

Shiny, black pollen beetles are said to come into gardens when the oilseed rape crop is sprayed off or finishes flowering, so perhaps there was less of it grown this year, or was it just Hampshire that had less? My oilseed rape-sensitive nose thinks not.



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Gardeners' World Web User 08/08/2009 at 10:30

I have a dog and have been told that the tree lillies I am growing are poisonous is this true.

Gardeners' World Web User 08/08/2009 at 18:55

My sweet peas have been covered in pollen beetles and no amount of shaking gets rid of them is there anything i can spray them with ?

Gardeners' World Web User 12/08/2009 at 20:44

The best way really is : Put sweet peas in a jar of water, put it in fark shed/room with a single light source that is away from the sweetpeas....pollen beetles leave sweetpeas and go to light source!

Gardeners' World Web User 17/09/2009 at 19:48

I planted some Giant Hibiscus roots in individual pots at the end of February this year. They started to shoot at the beg. of June and have grown to approx. 4ft but only one shoot on two of the plants. The smaller one has 6 shoots. None have had any flowers this year. I understood they would have blooms as big as dinner plates this year!! What have I done wrong and will they come up again next year. They are supposed to be hardy!

Gardeners' World Web User 06/07/2010 at 15:57

We are plagued with pollen beetles in our runner bean flowers. Will this prevent them from producing beans? If so what can I do?

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