OMG, how to get rid of potato bugs?! What can I do to stop them from growing? These are probably the questions you have been asking as a result of your reaction from the moment you saw those pests infesting your potato plants.
Relax. Chill. Don’t panic. I do understand your frustration but freaking out is not going to help either. Fortunately, this post is about the prevention of bugs in potatoes. Hopefully, you’re going to finish reading this post until the very last word.
What are Potato Bugs?
So, there’s a need, not just a desire or curiosity out of nowhere, to learn how to get rid of potato bugs and keep your plants free from pests. It is vital that you understand what these tiny insects do and how harmful they can be to your plants. The more profoundly knowledgeable you are, the better and easier it is to deal with them.
Potato bugs are essentially a general term. These may refer to Colorado potato beetles, a type of ladybug that has distinctive physical features: black spots on red upper part, yellow and black stripes. They may also be California potato bugs, which are also known as Jerusalem crickets or flea beetles that look like a combination of crickets, locusts and grasshoppers. Regardless, these are insets that can destroy your potatoes. The bottom line is to eliminate them from infesting your plant and prevent them from coming back.
What are Ways on How to Get Rid of Potato Bugs?
Basically, there are two options on how to get rid of potato bugs. You can choose to do it on your own or call some professional help from a lawn care company or an exterminator. To help you save some money, it’s best that you just learn how to do the process yourself.
Once you have decided to do it alone, and maybe with a little assistance from your family members or friends, think hard if going for pesticide-free solution is a good choice. To tell you the truth, it’s best to stay natural and use less (or never) chemical-formulated solutions as much as possible.
Also, killing the insects is not the end solution. If you want a long-term and effective way on how to get rid of potato bugs, eliminating (not killing) them is the most excellent choice.
1. Check Some Signs
You must be aware of the fact that both the adult beetles and their larvae (eggs) feed on the leaves of potatoes. You can easily see bugs upon a closer look. But damaged leaves and foliage are the positive indications of infestation.
2. Assess the Damage
There’s a great difference between a foliar damage and severe infestation. Normally, you can just get rid of the affected part of the plant if the infestation is little or has occurred very early. The use of insecticides may come to place if the damage is seriously troubling. That is when more than a dozen of beetles thriving around your plants.
3. Use Traps
To help you have an idea on how much damage there is, it’s recommended to use traps first. Potato bug traps is the use of a short board that’s coated with a layer of petroleum jelly. Place this on the ground and wait until potato bugs have fallen down and apparently get stuck.
Remove the board from the site and toss the bugs into the trash can, wherein you may apply pesticides if you want to kill them and ensure they won’t come back. Put back the board and apply another layer of petroleum jelly to see if there are more bugs. If none, then problem solved!
4. Spray with a Natural Anti-Microbial Solution
Bacillus thuringiensis is a natural bacterial disease that can work concerning how to get rid of potato bugs. It is a very recommended solution for this particular case. It is basically composed of bacteria that can control the population of larvae. Simply spray all over the leaves and surrounding area of your potato plants.
You may also choose to opt for diatomaceous Earth. This is a fine silica powder that’ made from the fossilized shells of algae. It naturally kills potato bugs. This is eco-friendly and safe to use without harming your plants and even pets. To use this, spray or sprinkle all over the area where potato bugs and larvae are found.
Another great option to naturally eliminate potato beetles is the application of neem oil. You can absolutely use this is a natural pesticide. It is strong and effective in killing off the bugs and larvae.
How to Prevent Bugs from Reoccurring?
1. Check Regularly
Even after a successful removal of potato bugs, keep in mind that it’s possible for another growth. That’s why you should constantly monitor your plants and be aware of insect sightings.
2. Remove Weeds
One way on how to get rid of potato bugs is to keep the area clean and free of weeds, woods or other debris. You also remove old plants or damaged leaves.
3. Add Mulches
You can further prevent beetles, bugs and other insects with the presence of mulch. Applying as little as an inch layer of it can keep pests away.
You may also like to cover your plants with some netting to protect them from potato bugs. They won’t stay long in that area if they know they cannot do anything to feed themselves.
5. Grow Companion Plants
Some gardeners may agree that adding some plants in your garden site of potatoes can also help. It’s not a direct solution on how to get rid of potato bugs but can definitely help in the prevention. Among the best companion plants you can choose are coriander, horseradish and even marigold. As much as possible, do not use tomatoes, eggplants, cabbages and other leafy vegetables as they are more attracted to those type of plants.
Now that you’ve learned a few ways on how to get rid of potato bugs, start putting them into action before this problem gets worse.