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Colorado potato beetle, like the potato itself, this harmful insect arrived in Europe from overseas where it was already killing some spontaneous Solanaceae. Between the end of the 1800s and the beginning of the 1900s it landed in France and during the Second World War, crossing the Alps, it also arrived in our country to annoy our potatoes. Let's find out how, and above all how to get rid of it, with biological remedies.
Colorado potato beetle: the insect
There Colorado potato beetle belongs to the species Leptinotarsa decemlineata Say, is a beetle of the Chrysomelids family and takes it out above all with tomatoes and Solanaceae in general, potatoes in the first place. As an adult this insect reaches a maximum length of 12 mm, it is white-yellowish with a dozen longitudinal black stripes above, while on the prothorax it takes on reddish hues with a sort of graphic sign resembling a “clip”, in black, open towards the head.
When it is a larva, the Colorado potato beetle it is reddish-orange in color with a double row of dark tubercles on the sides of the body with the typically curved shape of many chrysomelids in this state. Elliptical in shape, the eggs are yellowish and we can find them even if small, in groups, on the leaves, as if glued.
Colorado potato beetle: dangers
If you're wondering what this anonymously colored, modestly sized beetle combines, just say it's a terrible insect "defoliator”Which destroys the foliage, weakening the plant and even killing it. An attack of Colorado potato beetle but not to be underestimated.
Once infested, a plant can react or succumb, in the former case the strategy to survive is to produce lateral shoots and other leaves. Maybe the tubers will not sprout immediately but at least it is not certain death.
Vigorous and long-lived, the Colorado potato beetle is able to accomplish from 1 to 2-3 generations per year depending on the environmental conditions. Once winter is over, the adults come out of the ground where they had taken refuge, at a depth of about 30 cm, and begin to damage the leaves and reproduce. There first wave of larvae in a couple of weeks it begins to annoy the plants in turn and, as soon as it matures, it in turn produces another generation, it is the second summer. The third of the year!
Colorado potato beetle: natural remedies and biological fight
Before focusing on natural remedies, a mention of the chemical fight and the reasons why in the case of the Colorado potato beetle it is not the most recommended. First the chemicals must be applied as soon as possible to be effective and if the plant is in the flowering period, it is imperative to wait for it to finish. Also when we decide to go the chemical way to hunt the Colorado potato beetle we must inform ourselves thoroughly to alternate the active ingredients in order to avoid phenomena of desensitization.
The chemical way is not very agile, especially compared to that of the biological struggle and gods natural remedies. The first step is to take manual controls, in this regard, because if it is caught in time, the infestation can be eradicated with a few gestures and zero chemicals and not. Another effective system is that of bait plant: grow it in advance so that it attracts the Colorado potato beetle allowing us to eliminate it before the plants we will grow are born for the rest of the season with a clear heart.
As for the biological struggle, as insecticides there are only pyrethrum and bacillus thuringensis. The first acts by contact while the second turns out to be suitable for hunting Colorado beetle larvae. Any attempt can be the right one but the surest way remains that of prevention and of manual control which requires careful monitoring, to then proceed with the eventual manual elimination of the Colorado potato beetle already in May.
Doriflora: Zapi's insecticide
For the control of the Colorado potato beetle and other common moths there are also useful and practical liquid insecticides including this Zapi, at 16 euros, resistant to rain and effective even during the summer when the heat is felt. It should be kept out of the reach of children but in the case of "good" and welcome insects, it is of low toxicity, I refer to useful insects such as bees and bumblebees.
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