Causing a lot of damage in the kitchen garden, the Colorado beetle is among the most feared invaders by gardeners. Fortunately, you can easily get rid of these insects naturally without resorting to any chemicals.
What do we know about Colorado potato beetles?
Insect of the family of chrysomelids with an average size of about ten millimeters, the Colorado potato beetle or potato beetle is very easy to identify with its domed oblong body and its back bearing yellow and black stripes. It is these motives that preserve these insects from their predators, making their extermination even more difficult.
However, if the Colorado beetle is also feared and dreaded, it is because this insect multiplies a lot and very quickly. The proof, during her short life, a female can lay up to two thousand five hundred eggs. Deposited on the leaves, they hatch after seven to ten days and give rise to voracious larvae which, like the adult beetles, are veritable leaf-eaters. That's why these invaders are doing enormous damage in a very short time.
In addition, with wings, with the help of the wind this insect easily travels hundreds of kilometers and covers large areas. Also supporting very well the cold, the beetle is buried during the winter period. The creature comes out of its sleep from the first rays of the sun and throws itself without further greed on the potato plantations. The Colorado beetle appreciates everything about this vegetable plant: the leaves, the stems and of course the tubers.
Originally from Mexico and the United States, this beetle made it known for the first time in the nineteenth century by ravaging whole fields of potatoes. Towards the year 1918, at the end of the First World War, the potato beetle was inadvertently introduced on the European continent via imports of potatoes from the Americas. And despite all the precautions and measures taken, the Colorado beetle quickly colonized the Old Continent. There are currently around 25,000 species of CPB.
Struggle, treatment and prevention
When we see the destructions and the ravages caused by the CPB, we think to overcome this invader particularly tenacious by the strong way, namely the use of powerful insecticides. Yet, there is different natural methods that have also proved their worth. In addition, the use of chemicals can have adverse effects on the environment and on the ground, but especially on humans via the risk of poisoning.
Indeed, it is important to point out that this oligophagous insect only attacks the vegetables of the Solanaceae family, including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants... And one of the ways to to get rid of them effectively and sustainably is to destroy them manually. Every other day, pick up the adult Colorado potato beetle. To kill them quickly, you can simply drown them in a bucket of water. Also crush larvae by rubbing vigorously against the leaves. The eggs are yellow in color, usually on the backs of the leaves. It will be necessary to repeat the operation until the final extermination of the chrysomeles. The only disadvantage of manual picking is its laborious and painstaking side, since the plants must be carefully examined one by one. It can be very tiring and monopolizing in case of large areas to cover.
Alternatively, it is also possible to spray the plants with horseradish, nettle or tansy. This organic insecticide in the form of manure is very easy to prepare since it is enough to let macerate three days in water leaves of one of these plants.
And then, remember that crop rotation also prevents the proliferation of this beetle, just like the combination of potato, eggplant and tomato with other plants: beans, garlic and castor oil are excellent repellents against potato beetles.