It’s true. Here at Lamplighter Homestead, we have finally naturally controlled the Infamous Colorado Potato Beetle. Our ‘how to control the Colorada Potato Beetle/Bug Organically’ is so simple, it’s almost embarrassing.
First, I can’t take the credit for this miracle. We heard it from an old-timer who was saturated with wisdom. I call it the wisdom of the Ages . . . so much we can still learn . . .
So, our post on controlling the Colorado Potato Beetle/Bug ends up not being one of the popular methods that you can read about out there on the internet. Whether organic or conventional.
There are many organic methods that work for some. For us :
All we could have told you was that Neem Oil works only on some Colorado Potato Beetles
Diatomaceous Earth works on about 20% of the squishy soft critters.
Soap water . . . doesn’t work.
Now, before you tell me ‘but Amy’ . . . I know. Some of these controls and maybe others work for some of you. I can’t explain why people manage to control bugs/pests in the garden one way, and others can’t.
But I know this. Colorado Potato Bugs have been the nemesis of our gardens in Maine for decades, and if you don’t handpick, and choose not to use chemicals, it is a losing battle.
We have handpicked for years. My Mom has earned the glorious title ‘Queen Potato Bug Picker’ of the year award for many years. She has literally picked thousands upon thousands in the course of one. short. Maine. summer.
She’s 88 now. And let me tell you she is mighty glad she does not have to load up jars with soapy water and pick those nasty orange creatures anymore.
How to control Colorado Potato Bugs organically and naturally had become very important to us.
We didn’t want to use conventional chemicals, and we didn’t want to spend hours and hours picking bugs.
Okay. We still pick bugs. But very, very few.
Drumroll please . . . our control of the Colorado Potato Beetle is to wait until their first cycle has finished, then plant.
We used to plant anywhere from late April to late May, depending on the coming of Spring.
But, now we only plant July 1st and as late as July 4th.
We miss the entire pilgrimage of Colorado Potato Bugs as they march through the state, looking for a tantalizing potato patch somewhere to settle down and plant gardens (eggs) and grow big families. (really big), that eat a humongous amount of potato leaves.
We grow a lot of potatoes. In past years we have put up enough potatoes to give to shelters/pantries and feed our family until June of the next year.
We were very hesitant to try this. How much we would we lose by planting them at such a late date?
Almost none. I kid you not. We still harvest around 1000 pounds of potatoes.
We squish maybe a few hundred potato bugs.
The trick is to make sure your seed potatoes do not sprout too early. (keep them in cold storage until June).
They grow so fast, we are harvesting baby potatoes in 6-7 weeks.
The plants are happy.
We are happy.
My mom is really happy.
We still pick bugs. We still watch out for their presence, especially on our tomato plants. But they never amount to anything.
This year (2019), we had to purchase new seed potatoes. We waited as late as possible to buy them, but by the time we did, they were sprouting vigorously. That meant only one thing. We would need to plant before July.
We tried to slow down the sprouts, but June 21st they went in. Five weeks later we were picking bugs of off 2-foot plants. More than our July planting, but not like when we planted in May. Hundreds, not thousands, and as of this post, which is the end of June, they are well under control.
One more quick note, if you have early volunteer potato seedlings popping up, pull them out. It’s like a neon green flashing sign advertising “I’m here!” to the beetles.
We sold this idea to our neighbor and they have happily announced they also have conquered and defeated the Colorado Potato Beetle.
So, that’s it! I don’t know if this will work everywhere, the country is so diverse in it’s planting sectors, but it’s worth a try. It is an all-organic, completely natural, bonafide Colorado Potato Beetle/Bug control.
And besides that, it just plain works.
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