The Q&A Archives: Colorado Potato Beetle

Question: I've planted potatoes two years in a row...and they've been totally destroyed by the Colorado Potato Beetle. What can I do to control this pest? Everything I've read indicates that they are extremely resistant to pesticides. Will praying mantis or ladybugs help control them?

Answer: Your best bet would probably be to use a special type of Bacillus thuringiensis (known as B.t.), a natural insecticide, that was developed for this pest. Note that most B.t. products are for caterpillars and will not control the Colorado Potato Beetle. However, the "San Diego" strain of B.t. will control them. It is sold under several brand names including M-One and M-Trak which is sold by: Gardens Alive, 5100 Schenley Place, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025, (812) 537-8650.

Another organic option is to use a rotenone/pyrethrin spray labeled for potatoes.

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