Your bean plants may be plagued by a number of different pests, from Mexican bean beetle to aphids. And although you may be tempted to reach for a pesticide spray, the idea of eventually eating that chemical along with your beans may have you holding off on the spray. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to control bugs that attack bean plants without spraying them with pesticides.
Prepare your soil before planting your beans. Bean plants that are healthy from a nutrient-rich soil are more resistant to bug attack. To prepare the soil, break up the soil several months in advance with a rototiller to a depth of eight inches. Then spread three inches of finished compost onto the soil. Mix the compost with the soil by passing your rototiller over the soil again.
Remove all weeds and garden trash vegetation immediately. Garden weeds provide a habitat for bugs. By removing the weeds, you remove the natural habitat for bugs and cut down on the number of bugs you will have in your garden.
Cover bean plants with floating row covers to help shield bean plants from beetles and other flying insects. Be sure to remove row covers on warm sunny days so that you don't accidentally cook your bean plants.
Mix a bucket of water with insecticide soap according to the package directions. Hand-pick any insects, slugs or cutworms that you encounter from your bean plants and throw them into the bucket of water.
Interplant beans with plants that repel bugs, such as nasturtiums, rosemary and summer savory.
Place tinfoil around the base of bean plants. These tinfoil collars will repel cutworms, slugs and other bugs that chew through the stems of bean plants.
Set out pheromone traps, sticky traps and water traps around your garden. These will draw in insects and keep them off of your bean plants.
Pour insecticidal soap into the holding chamber of a garden hose spray applicator according to the soap instructions. Spray your plants with insecticidal soap to drive off aphids, mites and scale bugs.