Controlling Colorado Potato Beetles Controlling Colorado Potato Beetles
Colorado potato beetles are a serious problem for many farmers and gardeners who wish to grow potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. This small, striped pest is yellow with black stripes. It not only destroys crops and plants with its feeding habits, but also can be difficult to destroy. Here are some ways to combat a Colorado potato beetle problem.
Rotate Insecticides to Prevent Resistance
The most important rule of Colorado potato beetle control is avoiding repeated use of the same types of insecticide. Colorado potato beetles are notorious for developing a resistance to insecticides, creating serious beetle issues. Insecticides containing similar chemicals will kill pests in the same way, so it is crucial to regularly switch the kinds of insecticides you use for beetle control.
Avoid Insecticides when Possible
Take care not to overuse insecticides. Potato plants are hardy, and can still yield well under considerable duress. Do not use insecticides unless many individual plants tend to have more than one beetle or larva on a recurring basis.
One way to cut down on insecticides in a small garden, or avoid them altogether, is to inspect your plants and manually rid them of any Colorado potato beetles you find. Simply add soap to a bucket of water and place all adult beetles or larva in the bucket. This method of hand plucking beetles is especially useful early in the growing season. Colorado potato beetles survive in soil throughout the winter and start to eat plants and weeds in spring. These pests can lay more than five hundred eggs in a month, so early intervention will help keep the beetle problem from growing worse. Removing beetles and eggs will cut down on the total number of beetles in the garden, but more importantly, will delay insecticide resistance.
Plan Insecticide Treatments Properly
When you do decide to use insecticides, be certain to do so at very precise times when this practice will best serve your purpose. The best time to use spray insecticides to control Colorado potato beetles is when the larvae are small and easiest to manage. There are two points in a Colorado potato beetle’s life cycle when insecticide treatment will be especially ineffective. The first is too early, when the beetles have survived the winter but not yet laid eggs. The second too late, when larvae are fully mature. For maximum effectiveness, use insecticide during the period of time when the majority of eggs have hatched, but the larvae have not grown large enough to cause serious problems in the garden. Keep in mind that Colorado potato beetles are only larvae for fourteen to twenty one days before they pupate in the soil, and they also typically have two or three generations in a year.
Use Insecticides Precisely
Always make sure you have the exact amount of insecticide needed for the plants you plan to treat. Additionally, be very thorough in your application of insecticide, so each plant is completely covered and the fewest number of beetles survive.