The Q&A Archives: Potato Pests

Question: I'm growing potatoes for the first time this year. What bugs will git 'em, and how do I keep em away??

Answer: Well, let's see now. You should rotate plantings of potato and its relatives, such as tomato and eggplant. (That was a note for NEXT year!) Do not use manure on potato beds--manure encourages scab, a fungal disease. Covering plants as they come up with row covers or dusting them with ground limestone helps deter flea beetles and Colorado potato beetles. There is now a special strain of BT (a biological control) available to help with the control the potato beetle larvae if it gets to be a problem. I have been successful at controlling Colorado potato beetles by carefully inspecting new plants. Every day (almost!) I go out and check the undersides of leaves, mostly the new, young leaves. If I see any bright orange eggs, I simply scrape off the eggs. It's amazing how well it works, to control the pest early in the season. Hopefully, you'll be bothered with none of these critters. Enjoy those tubers!

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