Receiving their name from the plant that helped them migrate from Colorado all the way to the east coast in the late 1800’s , the Colorado potato beetle is still active today in crops and gardens.

The Colorado potato beetle (or as farmers refer to it: the potato bug), have been known to eat their way through many types of plants. Tomatoes, tobacco, pepper, and eggplant along with other types of garden plants.

These ½” yellowish beetles can be found eating on the leaves of a host plant while they are in their larvae and adult stages of life. They can be identified by the 10 black stripes running down their back and the black spots on the back of their head, much like a ladybug’s spots. If left untreated, these beetles can do a significant amount of damage to plants, fruits, and vegetables.

Even though they can wreak havoc on gardens and crops, potato bugs are a beneficial pest. They eat smaller insects that can also damage plants. They aerate the soil when in the larvae and adult stages of life. During the larva stage they burrow into the soil a few inches to molt and adults burrow down to avoid the winter cold.

Adult potato bugs emerge from the soil in the spring to eat, mate, and lay eggs. The female is capable of laying over 500 eggs during a 5 week period of time. Each time she lays eggs she is depositing approximately 30 batches under the leaves of host plants. Eggs hatch in 5-10 days and the larvae immediately begin eating.

After feasting on surrounding leaves and plants for 21 days, the larvae make their way down the plant stalk and create a small burrow in the soil to spend the next week molting and shedding skin before emerging as an adult to start the process all over.

Several generations of potato bugs can be reproduced per year in the right weather conditions.

With the amount of damage that can occur from a potato bug, it’s safe to say that their mouthparts can be powerful. A rather shy bug, this beetle will naturally turn and run the other direction. But when handled or provoked, it can bite. The potato bug possesses no venom but you can experience a significant amount of pain from the bite.

There are several ways to keep potato bugs out of your garden and away from your crops.

  1. Plant vegetables that repel potato bugs. Onion, garlic, and chives are a few ideas.
  2. Apply straw mulch.
  3. Plant late. This allows insects to search for other food sources before plants have time to mature and emerge from the ground.
  4. Inspect regularly. Look at the underside of plant leaves for eggs and bug infestations. Damaged leaves are a good indication of damaging insects.
  5. Spray plants with soapy water if bugs are spotted on the leaves.
  6. Hire a professional.

Keeping your garden and crops bug free is as important as keeping your lawn and home bug free. Safe Earth Pest Control has a team of experts that specialize in maintaining a bug free environment just for you. Contact us today. We have affordable plans to fit all your lawn and pest control needs. 214-321-2847