We all love potatoes, but did you know they can be a little hassle? The truth is, potatoes are great and all, but they do have a few issues.
Potatoes can attract pesky bugs. These are called potato bugs that like to eat your potatoes and leave behind slimy trails. They’re gross and hard to eliminate when you don’t act quickly!
But don’t worry, we’ve got some tips on how to get rid of potato bugs in your garden!
Before you learn how to get rid of potato bugs, what are they?
Potato bugs, also known as stink bugs, are a species of insect that feed on potatoes and other members of the nightshade family. They’re a common pest in many areas, and their population is growing. This means that if you have potatoes or other nightshade plants on your farm, you’re at risk for a potato bug infestation.
What do potato bugs look like?
- They are small, brown insects with black stripes along the edges of their bodies.
- They have triangular heads and round bodies with long legs and antennae.
- They can be up to 1/2 inch long from head to tail tip (including wings).
- Their bodies are covered in scales that make them look shiny under certain lighting conditions.
Potato bugs tend to be found in clusters near each other, which makes them easier to spot than if they were scattered across large distances on different parts of your property. Potato bugs also attack other crops such as:
Ways on how to get rid of potato bugs
Let’s now lay down how to get rid of potato bugs and remove your worries.
1. Manual removing of adult potato bugs by hand.
Manual removal is a great way on how to get rid of potato bugs, especially if you have a limited number of potatoes.
- Find the adult potato bugs on your plants. The adults are easy to spot because they’re large and black, and they’ll be on the leaves or stems of your plants.
- Once you’ve located all the bugs, it’s time to start removing them by hand.
- Grab each bug with one hand and pinch its thorax between your fingers. Then use your other hand to pull off its wings.
- Once both wings are off, drop the bug into a bucket of soapy water so it can’t escape and lay more eggs.
- Repeat this process until all potato bugs have been removed from your garden.
2. Manual removing of potato bugs’ eggs by hand.
Potato bugs are the most common and damaging pest of potatoes. Potato bugs can live for a year and lay up to 200 eggs in their lifetime, so it is important to keep them from multiplying.
You can manually remove potato bug eggs by hand.
First, you need to find the eggs on the plant. They are usually found on the underside of leaves and look like little knots or bumps.
When you have located an egg, use your fingers to gently detach it from the leaf and drown them in soapy water diluted with water in a ratio of 1:10. That’s 1 part soap to 10 parts water.
This will kill those eggs that may have been attached under your fingernails and any live insects that may have come along for the ride.
3. Utilize beneficial pests.
Beneficial pests live in harmony with your plants, eating the bad bugs that would otherwise devour them. So instead of spraying harmful pesticides on your plants and killing their friends, you can get rid of potato bugs by introducing beneficial pests into your garden.
Ladybugs are known for their capability of eating up to 5,000 aphids in just one day! That’s like an army of ladybugs eating potato bugs for you every day of the year!
Another option is using lacewings or syrphid flies as natural predators for potato bugs in your garden. You can also attract these insects by planting different flowers around your garden. They’ll come flocking!
4. Use diatomaceous earth.
Diatomaceous earth is a safe and natural ingredient that can be used to kill potato bugs.
It came from the fossilized remains of diatoms, microscopic algae that have been around since the time of the dinosaurs. The powder looks like talcum powder but has sharp edges that cut into insect exoskeletons when they come in contact with it.
Because it’s a natural product, it’s safe for people, pets, and plants, and it won’t harm beneficial insects like ladybugs or bees either.
The first step in utilizing diatomaceous earth to eliminate potato bugs is to apply it in a thin layer on the ground around your potatoes and wait for the insects to disappear.
They will stop eating after they are dehydrated by diatomaceous earth, so you should wait until they have died before removing them from the soil.
5. Spray neem oil.
You can use neem oil as a spray or insecticidal soap to get rid of potato bugs.
You should use a pump sprayer or a watering can to apply the oil. Before applying the oil, wash any plants you want to protect with soap. You can also apply neem oil as a soil drench for potatoes and other crops planted directly in the ground.
Neem oil works by attacking the pests’ ability to reproduce and find food sources. It also disrupts their hormonal systems, so they cannot develop properly or even mature into adults.
6. Use microbial solution.
Another best way on how to get rid of potato bugs is to use a microbial solution. This biocontrol product contains beneficial microorganisms that attack the bugs’ eggs, larvae, and adults. It’s safe for humans and pets, but not for all plants.
You can spray the solution directly on the leaves of your plants. You can also mix it into the water and pour it into the soil around your plants to kill any larvae hiding there before they can hatch into adults and begin feeding on your plants’ roots.
One famous microbial solution you can try is Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a common bacterium that has been used as an organic pesticide for years.
Eliminate potato bugs today!
So, there are the ways on how to get rid of potato bugs in your garden. Potato bugs are a minor annoyance, but they can become a major problem if you don’t take care of them.
If you want to keep your potatoes bug-free and if you want to save yourself from spending too much time and money on chemical sprays, you can try the ways we have discussed above.
First, ensure that your soil is healthy. This will help prevent potato bugs from getting started in the first place. If you have problems with potato bugs, try using organic solutions, which are easy, effective, and safe ways to get rid of these pests.