I have planted fewer potatoes than in previous years partly because last year the Colorado Beetle was so dreadful. Yesterday I put in one row of Pink Fir and two rows of King Edwards, and I still have two rows of Maris Piper to plant.
If anyone has a dream cure for Colorado Beetle I’d love to hear it! Too many to squish by hand – a vacuum cleaner might do it but the cable isn’t long enough! Any ideas?
What are Colorado Beetles?
The Colorado Beetle (also known as the Colorado Potatoe Beetle) is a crop pest – both adults and their larvae feed on the foliage. Although principally attacking potato crops, these beetles also cause damage to other crops such as tomatoes and aubergines. They are around 10 mm long, with a bright yellow or orange body and five bold brown stripes.
Colorado Beetles rapidly become tolerant to chemical insecticides, but there are a few natural enemies that can be deployed to control populations (as long as your insecticides don’t kill them off) such as the ground beetle (Lebia grandis) and a pathogenic fungus called Beauveria bassiana (which can be applied via a regular pesticide sprayer).
Management and control of Colorado potato beetles can involve a variety of strategies, including crop rotation, the use of resistant potato varieties, the removal of weeds that can host the beetles, and the application of insecticides. However, the beetles have shown a remarkable ability to develop resistance to various insecticides, making their management increasingly challenging for farmers.