The name Potato bug itself is a little misleading. This is mainly applied to 2 types of bugs. Here, we use different names to help you identify correctly.
Colorado Beetles (Leptinotarsa Decemlineata) and Jerusalem Cricket (Stenopelmatus Fuscus) can quickly infest the garden. In addition, they cause damage to valuable vegetable plants.
These two insect pests are named after the diet they like. They like to eat various plants in the park including different potato parts such as leaves, roots, and tubers. That’s why they called Potato bugs.
As the name showed, this pest was first discovered in 1859 partying on potato plants in Colorado. Then, they spread throughout the United States of America quickly.
Now, the birth of Colorado potatoes was found in Alaska, Hawaii, Asia, and Europe. They become a serious pest for the commercial vegetable industry and home gardeners.
These potato bugs usually overwinter underground. Talking about their life cycle, usually starting in spring once the egg has been placed.
Female beetles lay eggs around 30 orange eggs and attach them to the bottom leaves with their yellow sticky excretion. They take 14 days to hatch. Once the bug hatches, they chew on plants.
In addition, larvae continued to grow for about 2 weeks and turned into pupa. Throughout their lives, the birth of females lay up to 900 eggs. In general, this pest appears around the same time, plants begin to surface.
The process may take around 30 days between pupae that transform into adults and eggs. This is very dependent on the local weather. A cooler climate can definitely block 2 more weeks.
Which is not mature to be an adult later on. After that, they mate and produced more eggs. Within one year, there will be three generations of Colorado potato beetles.
Regardless of their name, they are not actual crickets. These potato pests are included in the order of insect equally orthoptera and Stenopelmatidae.
Unlike real mole crickets, this pest is not chirping. They created his hissing sound using their back legs in the middle of the body to repel the predator.
During the mating period, Jerusalem Crickets sang songs like grasshoppers. They beat their bodies to the surface, creating a unique drum sound to attract the attention of the mate partners.
Interestingly, crickets Jerusalem women usually eat their mates after completing the mating process. Next, the eggs will be placed in shallow soil holes.
These potato bugs are mostly found in the United States southwest and west. It can be seen in Mexico too. Despite its popular names, cricket did not praise Jerusalem.
Next, this bug potato is a nocturnal insect. That’s the reason preferring dark places and like to dig up the pile of organic materials. The creature dwells below the surface of the ground too.
Potato bug larvae
- When the first young larvae hatched, they were brick red with a blackhead.
- Older larvae pink to salmon-colored with a blackhead.
- All larvae have two rows of dark spots on each side of their bodies.
- Old larvae are responsible for 75 percent of the damage to feeding.
- Potatoes can usually tolerate defoliation up to 30 percent when they are in the vegetative stage.
- They are far more sensitive when tubers start to bulk and they can only tolerate about 10 percent defoliation.
- Bulking tubers begin immediately after flowering, making this time important for beetle management.
Potato bug bite
Both potato bugs are not dangerous, but the cricket Jerusalem can give people painful bites when restless. That’s the reason you don’t have to disturb them. Let the pest escape.
If you agitate Jerusalem crickets and back them to the corner. They can’t escape for sure. The worst is when their big jaws that can strongly bite your skin hard.
Conversely, Colorado beetles are practically harmless to humans. The thing you should pay attention to is their serious threat to your potato plants.
It is important to keep the Colorado beetle population under control. That way, they don’t put so many small eggs at once and form big infestations later. Fortunately, there are no bite insects of poisonous potatoes for humans.
Potato bug control
Prevention of potato bugs and control requires different ways depending on the type you face. Instead of just spraying commercial pesticides on them, we will show other but effective methods.
This solution also displays home medicine. Without further ado, here are some ways to remove potato bugs.
Colorado Potato Bug Beetle
You can destroy these potato bugs through cropping plants. Instead of growing Nightshade plants, choose their counterparts.
Some suggested plants are wasabi, sweet potato, parsnip, beets, sweet potatoes, radishes, and garlic.
Rotation of plants is the control of the Colorado potato beetle which is great. This makes creatures, not on the plants.
By turning what you grow regularly between potatoes and herbs or seeds, they will feel uncomfortable.
To solve potato bug problems, you can introduce their natural predators such as turtles, goose, chicken, land beetle, ladybug, parasitic wasps, and birds.
They will consume larvae and eggs, then gradually remove pests.
It is known that the easiest way to kill Colorado beetles is completely using other predators. spiny soldiers and bug smell will do all the removal work of pests.
Get rid of potato beetles
Another solution to get rid of potato beetles was trapping. You must make a wide trench between the vegetation row at a sharp angle.
Next, use plastic to cover it. This causes pests to fall into it and become trapped.
If you see Colorado beetles on potato plants, handpick and place it in a bucket. Don’t forget to fill it with soapy water.
The soapy water method requires you to check plants regularly for successful insect controls. In addition, don’t repel the pests, choose soil infertility.
Prevent potato bug attacks by covering your plants with organic mulch. They not only expel pests but also increase soil fertility and reduce unwanted weeds.
Organic mulch is usually made of pine needles, bark, straw, grass clippings, or compost. This application is very easy. Just spread to the ground.
Before planting potatoes, do your research. Some varieties such as ‘King Harry’ are Colorado Beetle-Resistant. They can drive the beetle because of hairy leaves that keep potato pests not reach.
Diatomaceous earth can be used to remove Colorado beetles. Place the sand above the potatoes or around them. This prevents flying pests from partying on your plants.
Furthermore, Earth Diatomaceous is environmentally friendly. This method is also suitable for areas with a lot of rain because it won’t pound in water.
Most pesticides such as deltamethrin, imidacloprid, pyrethrins, and cypermethrin generally will not get rid of Colorado’s potato beetles. However, those who contain spinosad, bifenthrin, and Bacillus Thuringiensis work perfectly on them.
Compared to bifenthrin-based insecticides, spinosad is safer. If you don’t have to remove potato bugs immediately, opt for it.
Pesticides containing Bifenthrin killed Colorado beetles quickly. Meanwhile, Bacillus Thuringiensis will paralyze their intestines. Then, it’s starvation and destroys it slowly. Make sure you buy a special BT for potato bugs.
In most opportunities, Jerusalem will not come in a big cluster. This makes pest removal for sure. You can remove it by hand. Another option is to trap potato bugs using a wide trench.
If you want environment-friendly pest control, go for the Diatomaceous earth. Because the sand contains fossil algae, it will not cause damage to humans and potatoes.
Usually, the Diatomaceous Earth does not cost more than $10. Spread a small number around the plants or vegetable gardens. Wait until Jerusalem cricket dehydrated and then die.
You can also use Neem oil as an organic insecticide. It consists of azadirachtin, insect chemical prevention. These ingredients can prevent Jerusalem Crickets from the feast.