Colorado beetleCaused by: Leptinotarsa decemlineata
Problem Category: Insect
Symptoms: Feeding damage to foliage; if infestation is severe or if left untreated plants can be completely defoliated; adult insect is a black and yellow striped beetle; larvae are bright red with black heads when they first hatch and change color to pink; larvae have two rows of black spots.
Comments: Adult beetles emerge in spring; female beetles lay eggs in batches of up to two dozen; eggs are orange-yellow and are laid on undersides of leaves; a female can lay 500 or more eggs over a four to five week period.
Management: Control of Colorado potato beetle can be challenging as they have developed high levels of insecticide resistance; in the home garden planting early maturing varieties of potato allows the plants to escape from most damage; adults and larvae should be hand picked from plants and destroyed in soapy water; applications of Bacillus thuringiensis can be effective at controlling larvae but should be applied frequently; some insecticides, including spinosad, are still effective against adult beetles.
Control: Spray 5% Neem seed kernal extract to control the colarado beetles