Q:

How do you kill bugs on potato plants?

A:

Growing potatoes is satisfying and fun. But sometimes, bugs can make a meal out of your potatoes leaving you with dead plants. Try the following steps to help get rid of potato bugs.

  1. Pick the bugs off

    Picking off the bugs by hand may be practical if you have a small garden or if you have a small infestation of potato bugs. The Colorado potato beetle, for example, is large enough to be seen. Use the tips of your fingers to remove these bugs. Don't just throw the bugs off to the side. Put them in a bucket of soapy water to kill them.

  2. Add natural defenses

    Add beneficial insects that eat potato bugs to your garden. The more diverse your garden is and the better the quality of its soil, the more beneficial insects, such as butterflies, honeybees, ladybugs, lacewings, pirate bugs and ground beetles, you will attract. Ground beetles prey on many bugs and insects including the Colorado potato beetle, so attract them by planting ground cover and using mulch. Prevent disease and infestation by rotating your potato and other nightshade crops.

  3. Use insecticide

    A variety of insecticides can help alleviate or control your bug problem. Always protect your eyes and skin when applying insecticides. Spray neem oil to a small area on one plant before spraying the rest of your garden. Wait a full day to see how the plant reacts to the neem oil. Spinosad is also effective against potato bugs and should be sprayed directly onto the bugs. Reapply the spinosad every few days to obtain maximum results.

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