Earlier this week Mike and I were preparing to adjust he row covers on our potatoes when we noticed some insurgent potato beetles on some of the plants. The numbers were uncomfortably high so we began hunting down the beetles plant-by-plant. I observed the full cycle of potato beetle life from egg to reproductive adults as I went about my exterminating.
The only stage not included in the photographs are the juvenile beetles. At that stage the beetles are small, brown, round, jellyish bugs.
Luckily the beetles are easy to spot due to their bright colouring. The eggs are also very obvious as their bright orange colouration makes them stand out brightly against the green leaves of the potato plants.
You may know of the Colorado Potato Beetle for the havoc it wreaks upon large monoculture potato crops. This havoc is what led to the rise of genetic modification and pesticide use to control this crop pest. Even with our smaller-scale organic operation Bantry Bay must contest with the pervasive beetle. However, instead of turning to sprays or modified plants we focus on keeping the plants covered (with the fabric cover’s edges buried with soil) and do regular spot-checks to remove beetles from the plants. It’s a tough battle but we do what we can!