Infestation of cowpea bruchid (cowpea / pigeon pea)

Dear all,

I harvested and stored cowpea and pigeon pea in glass containers. After (quite) a while I saw that there was a lot of bugs. After some research I found out that it’s probably the “cowpea bruchid” (Callosobruchus maculatus).

Despite trying to google - I haven’t found a solution. Is there a way to clean or store the beans/peas so that I can avoid this bug?

At first I cleaned out all of the bugs from the containers but I guess they are inside the peas and keep getting “hatched” (or however they appear). I also added some dried neem leaves to see if that made any difference (it didn’t).

Any ideas?

Thanks, M

We used neem (Azadirachta indica) leaves mixed in with cowpea seeds in Nicaragua and it seemed to work pretty well

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Hi Mark, our research director, Dr. Motis, presented some options in a recent EDN –


Hi Mark
I had the same problem with some pigeon pease in a polythene bag - three were no holes in the bag. My wife told me to put it in the freezer for a few days - minimum 3 to allow time to kill the eggs also. I’ve just taken them out and no sign of life.

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Thanks for all the replies. I will experiment - starting with the freezer. That seems to be the easiest way.

Hey Mark! I know this problem all too well! At the seed bank we use vacuum sealing. I leave the seeds sealed for 3-4 weeks to make sure the eggs die as well.

The tiny white specks on the seeds are eggs, so if you continue to have issues even after putting them in the freezer, try vacuum sealing. The adults will chew through plastic so use a thick plastic bag or a glass jar (see EDN that Bob posted).


Storing in CO2 or N2 works as well. The bugs die if they have no oxygen.

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