How to Control the Potato Bug, or Child of the Earth


The Colorado potato beetle originates from the Rocky Mountain area of the United States but is now found in almost every region. The potato bug is common in potato crops and other nightshade plants. The adult Colorado potato beetle is humpbacked with a smooth, striped shell. The adults and the larvae feed on the foliage of the nightshade plant. Complete defoliation of plants is common. The potato beetle must be controlled to prevent extensive damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Spined soldier bug
  • Crops
  • Plastic
  • Shovel
  • Neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam
  • Introduce spined soldier bugs to your garden to control the potato beetle. These are natural enemies of the potato beetle. The spined soldier bug is available from good gardening centers and specialty suppliers.

  • Rotate crops every few years from a solanaceous crop to a nonsolanaceous crop. Potato bugs only feed on crops that produce a fruit or berry (solanaceous) such as potato. Change to leafy crops instead.

  • Dig a trench around the gardening area that is 12 inches deep with sides sloping at a 46 degree angle or more. Line the trench with plastic. Adults trying to enter the potato area fall into the trench and die.

  • Apply neonicotinoids, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam insecticides to the crop during planting according to the application instructions to prevent new bugs.

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  • Photo Credit Colorado potato beetle image by Alina Pismarova from
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