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Potato Bugs

Posted by babydoe 7 ( on
Sun, Mar 29, 09 at 10:20

Hi, I need some help with controlling these nasty critters. I planted 50 pounds of Kennebec last year and even though I worked diligently picking them off and using Sevin dust, they got the best of me and devastated the vines. Anyone have better methods?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Potato Bugs

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Sun, Mar 29, 09 at 21:06

You might try something like Bonide's Potato Beetle Concentrate. I picked up some at the local Co-op yesterday, so don't have any experience with it yet, but I'm hopeful.

RE: Potato Bugs

Thanks Brandon. I will be going to Co-op later this week and will try some. However, since last years garden was supposed to be a family garden and no one showed up to help, I will plant smaller garden this year.
Also, thanks for the list of plant events.

RE: Potato Bugs

I've controlled them organically with B. t. var san diego. That's short for -- get ready for a mouthful -- Bacillus thuringiensis, variety san diego. This may be what's in that Bonide product Brandon recommended, I'm not sure. This strain of bacteria only kills feeding larvae of a small group of beetles including the Colorado Potato Beetle and is harmless to predatory bugs, birds, earthworms, toads, and everybody else, including humans.

It comes as a liquid concentrate that you mix with water and spray lightly but thoroughly on the leaves. The bug larva eating the leaf ingests the bacterium and gets sick unto death, basically. It can take a few days after spraying it on for the beasts to die, but they won't be doing any more damage in the meantime, because as soon as the bacterium hits their innards they stop feeding.

Different strains of this bacterium take out the larvae of various garden pests. There's one particularly for caterpillars like cabbage worm and corn tassel worm. And the granddaddy is the original strain used to control Japanese beetle larvae in lawns, known as Milky Spore.

RE: Potato Bugs

  • Posted by brandon7 6b (like 7b now) TN (My Page) on
    Thu, Apr 2, 09 at 10:08

Bonide Potato Beetle Concentrate doesn't contain B.t. One online source says it does, but their information contradicts the manufacturers data sheet and the product's label. I will provide a link below to the product data sheet.

B.t. tenebrionis is a natural strain of B.t. (the san diego strain is a genetically engineered version) that is recommended for potato bugs. Novodor, made by Valent, is one product that contains this form of B.t.

West Virginia University Extension Service's Colorado Potato Beetle Management article:

Here is a link that might be useful: Bonide Potato Beetle Concentrate Data Sheet

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