A new enemy in the garden

15

May 27, 2013 by Buffy

I have been babying my potatoes since February.  They are mounded and growing strong, at least they were last week.

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Then Farmer Rick and I noticed these cool new ladybugs around the garden.

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I should mention it has been a very busy rodeo and horse show weekend.  So JQ and I have been gone most of the weekend.  Of course no need to worry about my beautiful garden because Farmer Rick has spent a couple of hours each day working in the garden.  Imagine my surprise when I go out to the garden today and find my potatoes covered  with strange bugs.  Half of the foliage on my potatoes had been stripped.

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I have spent the afternoon reading about the dreaded Colorado potato beetle!  I don’t live in Colorado!  Why me?  I’m not very encouraged by anything I read.  I did find two organic garden friendly solutions I could try today:

1. Apply corn meal to the plants.  Supposedly, the bugs eat it, then drink and pop?.?.?  Sounds a little iffy, but remember I am desperate!

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2.  Hand pick the bugs off the plants and drown them in soapy water!

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These beetles won’t be eating my potatoes!

Yes, after reading and worrying for a couple of hours I decided corn meal was not going to solve this.  So I convinced Farmer Rick to spend his holiday helping me pick hundreds of bugs off of the potato plants.  Of course it was the least he could do since they infested on his watch.

Blog friends I need your help.  How do I get rid of these pests?   I fear they will invade the rest of the garden.  Any suggestions?

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15 thoughts on “A new enemy in the garden

  1. Littlesundog says:

    We had potato bugs BAD last year! I hand picked them for a while, then let the chickens in briefly, which helped. It will be a constant battle keeping those little devils at bay!

    • bhoyt10 says:

      That is what it sounded like by what I read. Today we will be trying nematodes. These were recommended to us to control all unwanted bugs by one of Farmer Rick’s coworkers. Farmer Rick is going to stop at Good Earth Nursery and get some hopefully. I will continue to hand pick and drown them. The battle is on!

  2. thecasualrider says:

    Hope the nematodes work! Your poor potatoes!

    Have never seen a ladybug like the one in your photo. Very cool! And, that WAS a ladybug, right?

  3. hollykaann says:

    Just so you know- they will eat other plants too. For me, I used neem spray and compost tea, hand picked and then got some ducks! The ducks loved the bugs and grubbed the larvae out of the ground so there was none to over-winter in the soil. Cornmeal is a very good tool to use and it is also a fertilizer. I recommend it. With organic gardening, you just try to shift the odds in your favor.

    • bhoyt10 says:

      Thanks Holly! I’ll have Farmer Rick look for Neem spray too. Are the nematodes safe for an organic garden?

      • hollykaann says:

        Yes, nematodes are great. That said, they won’t help you much RIGHT now. But you should definitely use them, just use some other things too.

      • bhoyt10 says:

        Farmer Rick has consulted his fellow farmers at the office. The recommendation there is spinosad! One of the farmers used it last year and killed all his potato beetles in one dose! It is new and considered to be organic! Now to find some!

  4. colonialist says:

    The corn meal could help, perhaps – you never know. I haven’t met any American bugs. Must agree wholeheartedly on the organic, though. All pesticides are poison – literally and figuratively!

  5. pobept says:

    http://www.organicgardening.com/learn-and-grow/potato-beetle-control
    Or try: Use a vacuum to remove beetles, larvae, and eggs. There are special “bug vacs” for garden use, but honestly, a handheld “Duster Buster” type vacuum
    Good bug removal

  6. bhoyt10 says:

    I sprayed the Colorado potatoe beetles with Spinosad yesterday! I am very pleased to say 90% of the beetles were dead today! I won’t be happy till they are all gone, but at least a nice start!

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