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Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers

Colorado Potato Beetle

Leptinotarsa decemlineata

Recognize the problem

The Colorado potato beetle is a very destructive potato pest. The young have two rows of black spots on each side while the adult beetle has hard wings with black stripes along its length. They cause significant damage to potato plants by eating the leaves and may completely eliminate the crop.


Adults of the beetles are inactive during winter time. They appear at the start of spring and start feeding on weeds and young potato plants. They enter the soil to attack new leaves of potato. Beetles lay orange to yellow eggs in batches on the underside of the leaves. After hatching, young beetles feed on potato leaves for 2 to 3 weeks before going into the soil. They reappear 1 or 2 weeks later a fully grown adult, and again start feeding on potato leaves.


  • Hand pick immature and adult beetles and discard them in a soapy water container to reduce the numbers of infesting beetles on the young plants in the spring.
  • Sprinkle dry wheat bran as a beetle food source over the plants. Once inside the stomach of the beetle, the wheat bran will increase in size and kill the beetle.
  • Practise crop rotation which is an effective method of reducing the risk of Colorado potato beetles. Plant potato in the first year, then in the next years plant wheat, then alfalfa and then maize.
  • Spray the infected plants with insecticides as recommended by qualified extension staff, for example deltamethrin (WHO II, moderately hazardous) at 2 ml per litre of water

When using a pesticide, always wear protective clothing and follow the instructions on the product label, such as dosage, timing of application, and pre-harvest interval.

The recommendations in this factsheet are relevant to: Afghanistan

Authors: Zakaria Faizi
Plant Protection and Quarantine Department
tel: (+93) 700259387 email:
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 licence.

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