The black and yellow striped Colorado potato beetle, or potato bug, originated in western regions of Colorado but now is found in almost all U.S. states. The pest can harm potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and other plants. The pest will feed on plants during both the larvae and adult stage. Because the pest can build rapid immunity to insecticides, natural treatments are encouraged to rid the pest from plants before using harsh chemicals.
Things You'll Need
- Coffee can
- Dish soap
- Flax, horseradish and/or garlic plants
- Wheat bran
Introduce ladybugs, natural predators of the potato bug, into the garden. Purchase ladybugs at local garden centers or online. Release the ladybugs at night to allow the insects to get used to their environment when the temperatures are cooler. Sprinkle a small amount of water on and around the ladybugs for moisture and hydration.
Pick the potato bugs off the plants. Fill an old coffee can with water and dish soap. Put on a pair of gloves, and remove the bugs from the plant. Drop the bugs into the soapy water.
Cover the plants with thin netting made to keep potato bugs away. Drape the netting over the plant; air and moisture will continue to flow through the small holes, yet pests cannot feast on the plants. Purchase netting online or at your local garden center.
Plant natural bug repellents around the crops, suggests Organic Garden Pests, a Web site devoted to organic and homemade remedies. Use flax, horseradish and garlic to deter the pests.
Sprinkle wheat bran over the plants and leaves; the potato bugs will consume the wheat bran. The wheat bran will continue to expand in the beetle’s stomach and cause the pest to die.