Colorado potato beetles (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) are relatively easy to spot with their round, tuberous bodies and distinctive orange-black stripes. Each female can lay 20 to 60 eggs at a time and is very productive. Once the eggs hatch, the larvae do most of their damage to potatoes and other nightshade crops like peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes. They have voracious appetites and can gradually defoliate a plant completely. The adult beetles are difficult to get rid of because they have developed resistance to conventional and biological control methods. The best weapons in the fight against Colorado potato beetles are therefore alertness and speed. You can fight potato beetles with the following tips and some simple home remedies!
If you grow potatoes in your garden, then you should also think about Colorado potato beetles
Help! Colorado potato beetle in the garden!
How to Fight Colorado Potato Beetle – 6 Natural Ways to Do It
Use neem oil
Apply neem oil as needed. It’s the organic gardener’s favorite insecticide and can actually work wonders. Derived from the seeds of the neem tree, neem oil contains several compounds that are also found in commercial pesticides. It works by reducing the insects’ food intake and interfering with their endocrine systems, preventing them from reproducing.
This is a natural way to fight Colorado potato beetles
Collect Colorado potato beetles by hand
Chewed and damaged leaves are the first sign of potato beetles in the garden. Check the undersides of your potato leaves regularly for eggs and larvae. If you spot an adult beetle among your plants, you’re bound to find larvae as well. Collect bugs, larvae and eggs by hand and throw them in a bucket of soapy water to kill them.
This is what Colorado potato beetle eggs look like
The larvae are small orange insects with a black head and rows of black spots down the sides
Use a vacuum cleaner
Use a vacuum to remove bugs, larvae, and eggs. There are special “bug vacuums” for the garden, but a normal handheld vacuum works well too.
Use deterrent sprays
Beetles tend to have hard shells, so they are best treated with deterrent sprays when they are still in the soft-bodied larvae stage. Some of these products are officially classified as organic, e.g. B. those containing spinosad or azadiractin. Azadiractin is a pesticide derived from the fermentation of natural soil organisms. However, it only acts on the larval stage of the beetles and has no effect on adult Colorado potato beetles. Spinosad, a more effective deterrent, must be reapplied every 10 to 14 days during the beetle’s larval stage.
Deterrent sprays will kill Colorado potato beetles
Bt (Bacillus thuringuensis var. tenebrionis) can be effective when applied early, ie at the beginning of the insect’s larval stage. You must identify the eggs and apply Bt at that time for it to be effective. Bt is a soil bacterium that paralyzes the digestive organs of certain larval stage insects, causing them to starve.
Encourage natural predators
Stink bugs and ladybugs eat the larvae of the Colorado potato beetle. They can be introduced artificially if they are not already in your garden. Predatory insects alone are not enough to control Colorado potato beetle populations, but they can help significantly.
A bird-friendly garden is also helpful, as birds feed on adults and larvae. You can attract them to your yard by providing a water source such as a B. Provide a bird bath, seed waterers and shelters. It’s also a good idea to plant additional food sources like sunflowers in the vegetable garden.
Natural home remedies and predators successfully fight Colorado potato beetles in the garden
How can you prevent the Colorado potato beetle?
Preventing Colorado potato beetle infestation is easier than treating it. Protect your potato crop from beetles by trying several of the following methods together, especially if you have had Colorado potato beetles in the past.
Extra tips in the fight against potato beetles:
- Do not grow potatoes in the same place year after year and avoid planting them where peppers, tomatoes and eggplants were grown the previous year. Adult Colorado potato beetles hibernate in the soil of the previous year’s potato beds. Planting in the same spot as last year allows the bugs easy access to your plants.
- There are several plants that deter Colorado potato beetles. Try planting at least one or two of them next to or even between your potatoes.
- If you manage to attract ground beetles, ladybugs and lacewings, they will do much of the hard work for you.
- Certain potato varieties have proven to be resistant to Colorado potato beetles. Also, it is advisable to plant early varieties, as the damage caused by the Colorado potato beetle will only get worse as the season progresses and the eggs hatch.
- Check your plants early and often, and as soon as you spot damage to the leaves, look for eggs and larvae. If you stay alert, you have a good chance of controlling the Colorado potato beetle in your garden!
The life cycle of Colorado potato beetles
With these tips and tricks you will successfully fight Colorado potato beetles