In this article, I’ll be giving you tips on how to get rid of potato bugs. If you’d like to eliminate them, I suggest you keep reading.
Do you own a garden filled with potatoes, sweet potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, and fresh peppers? Then, you may have encountered potato bugs (or potato beetles) in the past.
Where Do Potato Bugs Come From?
These pests feed on all the above-mentioned food items and leave them undesirable for humans to consume.
These pests are usually associated with the city of Colorado, however, they can be found in many other states in America.
Mature potato bugs can grow to about 3/8 inches long and they are characterized by their oval-shaped bodies. Their shells have yellow and orange stripes across it so they are easy to recognize.
The females have a habit of laying their eggs on the underside of plant leaves. The eggs are also colored yellow and orange so you can’t miss it.
These bugs can be very destructive, for this reason, they need to be removed as soon as possible.
Follow the tips below to get rid of them.
Best Ways To Get Rid Of Potato Bugs
There are many ways by which you can get rid of potato bugs in your garden. There are both chemical means and organic means of doing so.
Here are my recommendations.
Call A Professional Exterminator
I assume your crops mean a lot to you, therefore you wouldn’t want to lose them to a bug infestation. If you’re not the DIY type, then the logical thing to do would be to hire the services of a professional extermination company.
Explain the situation to them and have them come over to take a thorough assessment of the situation. From their observations, they will be able to propose an effective solution to your place station problem.
Keep in mind that extermination services are not free, they cost a good sum of money so you need to have a budget for that.
If you’re not ready to part ways with your hard-earned cash to treat the potato bug infestation, then you have to get rid of them yourself.
Follow these tips –
Inspect Your Garden
When you first notice the presence of potato bugs on one of your plants, then you should do a thorough inspection of all the other plants. As the presence of one plant could mean a spread to the other plants.
Mark out as many of your infested trees as you can find then proceed to make your preparations for extermination.
The reason you’re marking the trees is so you’d remember which plants need attention when you come back to dis-infest them.
Use Homemade Pesticides
If you’re not a big fan of chemically made insecticides, then you can try the home remedies. One of such organic pesticides includes a garlic spray.
Making a garlic-based pesticide at home doesn’t take much. All you need are a few items. These include mild soap (no bleach or harmful chemicals), garlic, a spray bottle, and water.
Take about 4 cloves of garlic and dump them in a container. Crush them into a paste-like form then add about a quart of water into the container.
Make sure they are blended thoroughly for the best results.
Allow the mixture to sit overnight so the solution will be potent enough to irritate the bugs.
The next step is to pour the mixture into a spray bottle and add some mild soap. Shake it thoroughly until all the content has been well blended.
Take the spray bottle and target the affected plants. Spray across the stems, branches, and leaves. Remember to spray the underside of the leaves too, since potato bugs love laying their eggs beneath the leaves.
Repeat this process regularly until all the potato bugs are gone.
Remember, one application may not do the trick, since potato bugs are very rugged insects.
The good thing about the garlic spray solution is that it is perfectly safe to use on your trees, as it is purely organic. It is also cheap to produce.
As nice as a touch of garlic can be in our meals, it is a hazard to most insects, as the scent is very harsh to them. They wouldn’t be able to bear it and they will leave.
Use Neem Oil
Neem oil is one of the best natural means by which you can remove potato bugs from your garden. It is derived from the seeds of neem leaves and you can buy a neem oil-based pesticide from most gardening shops.
You can also make a neem oil spray yourself and use it on the affected plants.
Remember to spray all across the plant so you don’t miss anyone. Spray over the infested crops too, just in case they are hiding inside the product itself.
Neem oil is safe to use since it has no chemicals among its contents.
Introduce Natural Predators
Potato bugs might be destructive to your crops, but that doesn’t make them “kings of the garden”.
Some predators will gladly feast on them and even thank you for the meal. Lol.
This is one of the best natural ways to get rid of the potato bugs in your garden.
A good example of a potato bug predator is the ladybug. You can head to the gardening store and buy as many as you need to tackle the infestation in your garden.
Ladybugs eat smaller bugs, potato beetles, and their eggs inclusive.
Introduce them into your garden and leave them to do the rest. Just sit back, wait, and watch the potato bugs diminish day by day.
This method of extermination has a major advantage. First of all, it is 100% natural, secondly, the ladybugs won’t harm your crops, as it is mainly interesting and n smaller bugs to feed on.
This means they can live in a garden and act as permanent “garden security” which will handle not only potato bug infestation but that of other smaller bugs.
Please be warned, do not use Neem oil in your garden if you’ve already introduced beneficial predators. Neem oil will kill the potato bugs, but will also kill the helpful insects that you introduced.
Hand-Pick The Bugs
If the potato bugs in your garden are not many, then you can simply roll up your sleeves and pick them one by one by hand.
All you need to do is a bucket where you’ll dump them in. You can add some water into the bucket to keep them from crawling out.
The water can also down them since they are not particularly the best swimmers.
Patiently move around your garden and gather up as much as you can. After the first round trip, you can do another round to be sure you didn’t miss any spot.
This method has its advantages, being that you’re sure the bugs are being removed since you’re picking them by hand. This is unlike spraying with a pesticide, in which case you may not find the dead bodies of the potato bugs.
Another advantage of this removal method is that it is 100% free. You don’t have to buy any materials to do this.
This method is not suitable for those who suffer from insect phobia, since they can’t even imagine coming close to a bug, let alone handling it.
Use Professional-Grade Pesticides
If you’re not sure you can whip up a homemade batch of pesticides all by yourself, then you can simply hit the store and buy one.
Remember, your plants are at stake here, so be sure you don’t buy a pesticide that contains chemicals that will harm your plants. The only harm that should be done here is to the potato bugs.
Read the label carefully to understand how the pesticide is to be used and apply accordingly.
Use Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth will kill potato bugs once they make contact with it. The good thing is, D.E is a non-toxic substance so it is safe to apply on the affected trees.
How To Prevent Potato Bugs From Returning To Your Garden
Potato Bugs are among the hardest garden pests to control. This is because they can resist some pesticides, at least for long periods.
So, if you finally manage to get rid of them, then you shouldn’t allow them to come back.
Here’s what you can do to prevent their return.
You can mulch about 2 to 3 inches thick around your garden plants. This will make it difficult for the newly hatched potato bugs to get to the surface, let alone climb up your plants.
As I mentioned before, helpful predators like ladybugs will eat any potato bugs they come across. This will help limit their numbers.
Follow the tips I have listed here to get rid of potato bugs.
I trust this article on how to get rid of potato bugs has been of great help.