Monday, 8 June 2015

Just a quick post regarding one of my not so favorite garden denizens. This time of year the Colorado Potato Beetle makes it's presence known and the results can be devastating to a potato patch. The adult beetles emerge from their winter sleep in  the ground in the springtime just in time to snack on their favorite food (Potato Plants). They love to party and then the female beetles find a nice sheltered underside of a Potato leaf and lay their very pretty orange eggs in patches. Unfortunately, nothing likes to eat them and they do very well under the leaves until they hatch and the larvae start munching. These larvae, along with the adult beetles can very quickly destroy the plant that they are situated on and you do not get any potatoes. The key is to carefully inspect each plant for both the adult beetles and their eggs. If you are somewhat squeamish, just pick the offending leaf complete with eggs and place it in a cup of soapy water. You can add the adult beetles to the cup as well if you like. The soap will suffocate them and you can then add them to your compost bin or the trash. I prefer to deal with them in a manual method which enriches the soil. You must be vigilante and find all of the eggs, if you miss any they will make themselves known. I inspect my plants every time I am in the potato patch. One other point, the adult beetles can fly, and do. So, just because your patch is free of them does not mean you won't get visitors. Honestly, if these beetles did not completely destroy the plant, I would not mind sharing, but they do not wish to share. Happy gardening!

The "illustrious" Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) munching on my succulent new potato plant foilage.



The "stealthy" Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) snoozing at the base of  on my potato plant stem.
The well hidden eggs of a Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)  nicely attached to underside of a potato  plant leaf.