The potato beetle, with the scientific name Leptinotarsa decemlineata , is a coleopteran insect that is very harmful to potatoes and other plants in its family. Its enormous capacity for reproduction and great voracity make it one of the most dangerous pests in the garden, which can leave our nightshades without a single leaf in a very short time. At first glance it is an insect with a shape that may be reminiscent of ladybugs, although its shell is yellow and has ten black lines, hence its scientific name.
If you want to learn how to combat this plague without resorting to chemicals, using ecological methods, join us in this article where you will see 10 home remedies to eliminate the potato beetle .
The crop rotation is a traditional and very beneficial method, which involves intercropping of different families in our plantation without repeating never two seasons . By doing so, we not only avoid depleting the soil of a certain type of nutrients, but we also favor the fact that pests that depend on certain crops cannot spread in the area as they do not have continued sustenance.
There are crops such as flax or carrots , which have natural components with the ability to repel the potato beetle . By associating our nightshade crops with these species, we can avoid the dangers of this pest, alternating lines of carrots or flax with the plants to protect or, surrounding them with them.
The padding, mulching or carpeting technique consists of putting a cover of a few centimeters of straw or some other equivalent material on the soil of the crop to be protected. This coverage protects the soil from the sun and extreme temperatures, in addition to helping to maintain humidity and making it difficult for pests to move between plants, as well as favoring the development of predatory species, helping to control biological pests. Chips of thuya, a kind of conifer that repels the potato beetle, can also be scattered on the ground .
Plants that attract potato beetle predators
Another way to apply a biological pest control in a simple way is by growing some medicinal plants in beds or hedges with the ability to attract potato beetle predators . If we put some rosemary, chamomile or basil hedges near the potatoes, tomatoes or aubergines, we will attract beneficial insects such as lacewings, ladybugs or predatory bugs, which feed on the beetle. Also many birds attack this pest.
Biopesticide with bacteria
It is possible to use beneficial bacteria such as Bacillus thuringiensis , which kills potato beetle larvae , preventing adults from reproducing. The good thing about this method is that the bacteria have a very specific scope of action, without harming the rest of the crop.
Fungi vs. potato beetle
This is another method related to the biological control of pests, since there are also fungi that attack this pest and that, therefore, we can apply on our crop to eliminate the plague of this insect. One of these fungi is Beauveria bassiana , which has the ability to make the potato beetle sick , so it eliminates it and makes those who survive leave when they see that it is not an area in which they can thrive.
Using early potatoes
Among these tubers , the earliest potato varieties do not need to spend as many days in the ground and allow us to harvest before summer. During these months is when the life cycle of the pest is complete, so an early harvest interrupts it and ends the problem.
Ecological insecticide with horseradish and nettle slurry
An ecological insecticide for the potato beetle can be made from horseradish .
- Fill a container halfway with horseradish leaves, then cover them completely with water.
- Let the mixture marinate for 10 days, and then strain the liquid.
- You must apply the mixture obtained with a sprayer, directly on the crop to be protected.
Horseradish is quite harmful to the beetle, so it will not take long to notice how the infestation diminishes. Also, if you do not have this radish but if you have nettles near the area where you have the garden, you can use the nettle slurry for the potato beetle , which is a fermentation of the leaves of this plant in water, the which takes several days to do (even a week) and then you have to spray the crop. Due to the delay in its preparation, it is also used as a preventive treatment, thus avoiding the appearance of various pests. If the plague is severe, you can try the two liquids together.
Another ecological insecticide against the potato beetle plague is made from citrus.
- Separate the skin of some oranges and lemons and boil for a few minutes.
- Afterward, let the mixture cool and sit for a full day.
- After that time, strain the liquid and get rid of the rest.
- Use the mixture by spraying it with a spray bottle on your potatoes, tomatoes or aubergines. Citrus fruits have a powerful repellent effect on the potato beetle, which will soon leave.
The neem oil, neem or margosa be used as a last resort, because it has the ability to kill a lot of bugs, some of which are beneficial to the crop. It can be made from the plant itself or purchased in specialized establishments and should always be applied with good protection for our eyes and respiratory tract, as well as our hands, since in the high concentration it has it can be harmful.