COLORADO POTATO BEETLE
This little guy (in his striped pajama bottoms!) is a menace to your potato, eggplant, lettuce, and tomato crops, though he does feed on various other plants. He is approximately ¼” long. He comes with several different names, such as: Ten Striped Spearman (count the stripes on each wing), Potato Bug (from his taste for the potato plants?), Ten-lined Potato Beetle, and, you may find in your research, that there are even more names for him.
For this item, we are going to concentrate on the Colorado Potato Beetle. His life cycle starts as an egg. The egg hatches into the larva stage, and finally the adult stage. The egg stage can take four, and up to 15 days, to hatch into the larva, depending upon light, humidity, and temperature conditions. There are actually 4 larva stages, and it is reddish brown, but the whole larva stage lasts from five to 15 days. The larva finally crawl down the stem of the plant and burrow into the ground, creating chambers where they pupate. The pupa stage takes another five to ten days before it then emerges as an adult. There can be one to three generations of the beetle, per female, during the year.
The adult beetles burrow into the ground and wait for Spring when they emerge and start the life cycle all over again, laying up to 800 eggs per year. These eggs are usually in clusters of about 30 eggs, laid under the leaves where they are protected from the sun and rain. A female can lay up to 800 eggs per season! That’s a lot of egg laying!!!
As an adult, he has the innate ability to rapidly build immunity to insecticides. So, it isn’t an absolute certainty that an insecticide will work, or if it does, for how long. There are natural predators, but the Colorado Potato Bug is so prolific, that they can produce faster than they can be eaten!!! Sounds absurd, but my research indicates it is a fact. And, the insecticides will more than likely kill their predators in the process, and you’ll end up back at square one! What a vicious cycle!!!
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