Friday, April 29, 2011

Start Checking Now for Colorado Potato Beetles!

Inspect the backside of potato leaves for bright orange clusters of beetle eggs now and in the coming weeks. When found, either remove the eggs or treat plants to prevent damage by this serious potato pest.

If you have potatoes growing in your garden be on the lookout for Colorado potato beetles. These voracious feeders can quickly devour potato leaves, resulting in greatly reduced yields and even plant death in severe cases. Controlling these beetles early in the season, before populations explode, is essential to protect your potato crop. Adult beetles are currently laying masses of bright orange eggs on potato leaves so now is the time to search your plants for these insects and take control measures if any are found.

Colorado potato beetles are similar in size to ladybugs, except they are slightly narrower, dull yellow, and have black stripes along their wings. Female adult beetles are currently laying masses of bright orange, football shaped eggs on the underside of potato leaves, which will hatch in four to nine days. A single adult female beetle can lay up to 500 eggs over the course of a month.

From these eggs emerge the immature form of the potato beetle, known as the larvae. This is the most damaging stage of the beetle, since the larvae feed continuously for two to three weeks before turning into adults. Colorado potato beetle larvae look quite different to adult beetles. They grow to about
½” long and have dull red, humpbacked bodies with black legs and two rows of black dots running down their sides.

Learn more about Colorado Potato Beetles and how to control them! Read the rest of the story here on the Pender County Cooperative Extension website, .

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