How do we keep potato bugs off our potatoes? We have tried lots of products but still don’t have any luck–please help!
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Glenda: The first step in controlling these insects is to have them positively identified. Control methods differ between insects, and understanding their life cycle is important in reducing population numbers. There are several insects that can commonly be referred to as potato bugs. There are different beetles as well as leafhoppers, just to name a couple of possibilities. Taking a sample of the insect to your County Cooperative Extension office for identification should be your first action in managing the problem. Good cultural practices will also be beneficial in reducing the population. In most cases, these insects will over-winter in plant debris, so proper cleanup is important in terms of next year’s growing season. As with anything we plant in the garden, it is always best to give them the best growing conditions possible; otherwise, they are more susceptible to insect and disease problems. Potatoes should be grown in an area where they will receive at least six hours of sunlight each day. They require well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0-6.5. Potatoes are considered heavy feeders, so adding compost to the soil will be beneficial to your potatoes. The Pulaski County offices are located at 28 Parkway Drive in Somerset. The phone number is (606) 679-6361. The agriculture/horticulture agent will be able to identify the insect and give you advice on pest management.