Potato Bugs: Colorado Potato Beetle Control
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Checking out the garden last night I was horrified to see all these little bugs on my potato plants. At first I thought they were Lady Bugs with a quick glance, but looking closer I realized they were the pesty Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) larvae.
I had read about the potato bug in the past while researching garden insects and pests, but this is the first in 3 years growing potatoes that they showed up. A quick look through google nested some interesting sites for information. Here are a few:
- Colorado potato beetle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Colorado Potato Beetle: Organic Control Options
I'm not interested and never used pesticides in the garden, so was looking for a natural control method. From what I've read about many different options, but these make sense to me:
- Manually go through the garden daily or even twice daily and pick the potato beetls into a container with soap and water.
- Can use 100% Neem oil as a diluted spray. Neem oil is a natural control and works by discouraging the potato beetle from feeding, but not directly killing them.
- Attract or bring in natural biological predators for your garden such as green lacewings, ladybugs, predatory stinkbugs and spiders.
- Use BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis), which is a naturally occurring bacterial disease. It's available as a spray solution at your local garden center and is effective in killing potato beetle larvae, but not as effective on adults. Best to use if you catch early.
Since I only have a small patch of potatoes and am outside daily, I decided to just check a couple times a day and manually pick them off. Some are in pretty bad shape so I hope I caught them in time. Would hate to not have fresh garden potatoes this year and into the fall.
I'd love to hear how others go rid of these buggers. I haven't personally tried the Neem oil or BT, but that would be my next move. I also practice crop rotation to reduce the chance of recurrence... but I'm also looking into what I can do to the soil to possibly eliminate or reduce the change of them coming back next year in that bed.
Filed under: Garden Living
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