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Q.Saving Hairy Vetch seed, how do I get rid of the little black beetles that seem to have infested the seed?

Zone 53545 | Anonymous added on August 9, 2019 | Answered

I live in southern Wisconsin and have decided to try to save the seed from this summer’s Hairy Vetch.
Unfortunately I did not put them in a sealed container immediately after I “shelled” the seed from the pods. I thought they might need drying out before I sealed them in a bottle. I have more little black beetles (which look very much like the seed – great camouflage) every day so I am guessing they are being “born” out of the seeds because many of the seeds not have a perfectly round little hole in them.
Should I put them in the refrigerator or the freezer for a while in order to kill the bugs? I appreciate any assistance you may be able to render unto me, marylee kishel

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Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Answered on August 10, 2019

They may be infected with the bugs already. If this is the case, then there is no likely solution but to start with new seed. If left in ground, they will usually self seed, and you can dig up an established plant to transplant. This will be a more reliable way to propagate this, unless you just have plenty of already stored seed.

Insect infestation is common, and may not be noticed until it is too late. Putting in the refrigerator can reduce the number of living insects, but they may have already done damage by this point.

This article will give you some more information on these plants: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/vegetables/cover-crops/hairy-vetch-cover-crop.htm

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