Are you searching for how to get rid of colorado potato beetle organically or chemical methods? Then you’re in the right post.
Here, you’ll learn about colorado potato beetles and how to get rid of this pest.
Before knowing how to get rid of this pest, first, we have to understand its life cycle because in each life stage there are different treatment methods.
Colorado potato beetles are common plant pests, heavy feeders which eat every vegetable but their favorites are from the nightshade family in which potatoes suffer the most damage.
These beetles are found in varieties that differ in size and color. The common colorado beetle has a yellow shell cover on its back striped with black color. Its head is also yellow with black spots. They are small-sized insects but fairly easy to spot.
This beetle feeds on their favorite vegetables. Then female beetles start laying eggs underside leaves. They lay approximately approx 25 eggs each time.
when the eggs hatch, produce larvae, tiny orange insects with blackheads and black spots all around the side. They make the majority of damage to nightshade vegetables including tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers.
Larvas has more appetite that can feed entire vegetables gradually.
Once larvae start hatching they deform vegetables rapidly. Once they become adults it is very difficult to get rid of them. As they become adaptable to organic as well as conventional methods. So, the best weapon to destroy colorado potato beetles is speed and vigilance.
How to get rid of colorado potato beetle organically
There are many methods to get rid of this pest organically. However, these methods are only applicable when giving close attention to your garden crops. It has been estimated that about 75 percent of damage occurs during the larvae stage.
So, it is vital to start treatment of colorado potato beetles as soon as you notice any sign of infest. These methods will help to stop the colorado potato beetles from thriving on plants.
Use neem oil
Applying neem oil on the infested plant is one of the most common methods to deter pests.
Neem oil is considered gardeners’ organic insecticide. It is made from seeds of the neem plant and has similar compounds to many conventional insecticides.
This oil prevents plants from feeding on their hormone system, which loses their ability to reproduce.
This organic oil stunt pests growth and eventually kill them. But, the organic compound does not mean it is not harmful. The term ‘organic’ means the product is made using natural ingredients. But, natural ingredients may affect humans and plants.
Fortunately, neem oil is safe organic oil to deter pests. It is applied to the plant as a spray in small amounts. Applying too much neem oil is not recommended.
Spray on the infested part of the plant every 3-4 days till all signs of pests vanish. This might take 2-3 weeks, applying excessive neem oil will not boost the process.
Caution: Its compound does not affect plant growth. But, it might cause skin irritation to some gardeners and when ingested will cause digestive problems. Keep away neem oil to kids and pets to be safe.
This pest is fairly visible due to its bright color. Colorado potato beetles can be spot on the plant in the early morning, in the night they return inside the soil under nightshade plants.
If you see chewed or damaged leaves it may be a sign of colorado beetles, check the underside of the leaves to spot beetles, leaves, or eggs. They usually hide the underside of the leaves to thrive.
Wear gloves, hand-pick beetles, eggs, and larvae; throw them in soapy water to kill them.
This will not remove them whole from the plant as there must be many of them. But, will slow their production and give them more time to apply other solutions.
Use a vacuum cleaner
Suck all the pests through a vacuum cleaner. Take the cleaner closer to the infested part of the plant and it will take in eggs, larvae, and even beetles.
Collect all pests in an airtight pack, destroy or throw them in the trash so that they will not able to come back.
There are dedicated ‘bug vacs’ for this purpose. However, a regular household handheld also works well.
Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis var. tenebrionid) is effective if introduced earlier when they are just beginning their larvae stage. You have to identify eggs and apply Bt for effective results.
Bt is soil bacteria that paralyze the digestive system of certain insects in the larvae stage that eventually starves to death.
There are many Bt that have been developed so make sure to choose one which is effective against Colorado potato beetles.
Use Deterrent spray
Colorado potato beetles have strong carapace so the best time to treat them with deterrent spray is when they are in their soft-bodied larvae stage.
Many deterrent sprays are catagories as organic which contains Spinosad or Azadirachtin.
Azadirachtin is a pesticide made from the fermentation of soil organisms, but this only works on larvae stage not when colorado potato beetles get an adult.
Spinosad is also a natural pesticide made from soil organisms, but this is more effective, apply it on larvae every 10 -14 days for effective results.
Use Beneficial insects
There are many Beneficial insects that eat Colorado beetles, their eggs, and larvae. You can buy these predator insects online and spread them in your plant.
They do not harm plants, people, and pets, only eat small pests, although they are alone not able to reduce colorado potato beetles. But introducing them in the garden would be one tool to prevent pests.
Make a garden that attracts birds like sparrows, chickadees, finches, wrens, nuthatches, cardinals, mockingbirds, and swallows. They will help to prevent colorado potato beetles’ growth in your crop. These bird species are known to eat colorado potato beetles and consume approx the weight of insects every day.
You can attract birds by planting sunflowers in the garden or provide a water source, birdbath, housing, and seed feeders.
What attract colorado potatoes beetles
Colorado potato beetles are naturally attracted to nightshade vegetables like potatoes, peppers, and eggplants. If you are growing all of them in the garden, do not grow them all together. Separate them with other crops with marigolds and narcissistic which colorado potato beetles do not find attractive.
Colorado potate beetles vs False Potato Beetles
There is a beetle species that looks similar to the colorado potato beetle called false potato beetles (Leptinotarsa junta). Gardeners from mid-Atlanta and the southeast U.S. may see these false potato beetles and be confused with the Colorado potato beetle.
It takes close examination to differentiate between them, where false potato beetles have brown stripes interpreting with black and white stripes. Colorado potato beetles do not have any brown strips.
Also, you will not notice any serious damage with false potato beetles, they do not feed heavily on potatoes and other nightshades.