- Potato bugs eat potato leaves. This will eventually kill the plant because it can't produce chlorophyll, which is a plant food source.
- Adult beetles are about one third of an inch long (8.5 mm) with orange-red colored heads and black bodies with yellow stripes.
- They attach their orange eggs to the underside of leaves.
- When the larvae hatch, they are orange-red with two rows of black dots down each side.
- You can pick off the eggs, larvae, or the adult beetles from the plant and squash them.
- Remember to search the underside of the leaves when looking for the eggs.
- If you have well-fed chickens enclosed in a potato patch, they will find and eat the pests.
- Mulch well and use a floating row cover.
- This will only work against the Colorado Potato Bug because they can survive through the winter in the soil.
- If you plant potatoes in a different location each year, it will reduce the number of bugs hibernating in the soil.
- You can apply pesticides called Bacillus Thuringiensis, Pyrethrum, or Pyrethrum and Rotenone mixed to kill potato bugs.
- Read the directions very carefully and ask for an adult's help to mix it properly.
- Diatomaceous earth is a special mixture you can buy at a gardening store that can destroy the larvae.
- Again, read the instructions carefully before applying it to your potato plants.
- If your garden is under severe attack, apply Bacillus Thuringiensis San Diego (M-One, Bonide's Colorado Potato Beetle, etc.) as soon as larvae begin feeding.
- Be sure to penetrate leaf and flower buds with the spray and don't wait to use it.
- It can be very effective on the larvae but it doesn't work on adult bugs.
- In Peru, there is a wasp called Edovum Puttleri that will destroy the Colorado potato beetles.
- They are commercially available, but you should read about them first and consult an expert before you try this method of control.
- Potato bugs are also known by several other names, including "Jerusalem cricket" and "child of the earth".
- Some species of potato bugs can grow up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) long.
- Although potato bugs can look intimidating, they are not dangerous to humans and do not have venom.
- Potato bugs are mostly active at night and spend the daytime hours burrowed underground.
- Historically, some Native American tribes believed that potato bugs had magical powers and would use them in spiritual rituals.
- Potato bugs play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to break down decaying plant matter and keeping soil healthy.