Colorado potato beetles are one of the most destructive pests to hit vegetable gardens. They prefer potato plants, but they'll readily attack potato relatives, including tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. Prolific egg-layers, Colorado potato beetles can produce hundreds of offspring in multiple generations each season. Larvae hatch, feed and breed as summer progresses. Adult and larval stages damage plants, spelling disaster for infested gardens.
Colorado Potato Beetle Identification
Adult Colorado potato beetles are oval-shaped pests that typically grow up to 1/2 inch long. The body segment behind their heads is yellow-orange with black spots. Ten narrow black stripes run down their yellow wing covers. Adult females lay clusters of waxy, yellow-orange eggs on the undersides of leaves. Pea-sized, hump-backed larvae range in color from brick- to salmon-red, with two rows of black spots along each side. Larvae grow larger and more destructive as they age.
Signs or Damage of Colorado Potato Beetles
Colorado potato beetle larvae and adults are voracious eaters that defoliate plants and stunt vegetable growth. Larvae often strike new foliage tips first. Whole leaves and whole plants come next. These pests feed heavily, skeletonizing leaves until just the leaf veins remain. Potatoes and other crops can't form their tubers or fruit, and plants may die completely.
How to Control Colorado Potato Beetles
Without intervention, Colorado potato beetles overwinter and increase annually, emerging from soil each spring to feed and breed. GardenTech brand offers several options to kill Colorado potato beetles and protect your harvest.
- Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Use2 simplifies targeted spot treatments of pests and plants. The adjustable nozzle lets you control the width of the stream so you can spray widely or narrowly. Start treatments early in the season to kill Colorado potato beetles on contact before they multiply.
- Sevin Insect Killer Ready to Spray and Concentrate make it simple to treat larger areas of affected plants. Give extra attention to outer garden rows where these Colorado potato beetles strike first. These products kill by contact and protect against Colorado potato beetles for up to three months.
- Sevin Insect Killer Dust Ready to Use starts killing Colorado potato beetles immediately upon contact. Use the convenient shaker container to apply a thin, uniform layer of dust on affected plants and protect edibles from insect damage.
Colorado Potato Beetle Control Tip: To reduce overwintering beetles, remove and destroy all plant debris at season's end. Till your garden during fall or winter to expose Colorado potato beetles to killing cold.
Always read product labels thoroughly and follow instructions, including guidelines for listed plants and pests, application frequencies and pre-harvest intervals (PHI) for edible crops.
GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.
Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.