Plantwise Factsheets for Farmers
Colorado Potato Beetle
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.
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.
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:
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