They are back. The dreaded Colorado Potato Beetle.
Due to Fraudulent Biden’s apparent aim of starving us all, I planted more potatoes than usual, and was alarmed to see these pretty, little beetles even as the potatoes emerged. My only strategy is to squish them like crazy, which requires vigilance and steadfast attention. Slack off, and with amazing speed your potato patch will be reduced from bushy leaves to a bunch of sad-looking stalks.
Squishing is gross, even if you only have one plant, and I have a hundred, so I turned to the web to see what other gardeners had to say about the beetle battle.
I really like the gardener’s gatherings on the web, for the government hasn’t gotten involved and doesn’t say what can be said and what can’t be said. Not that they aren’t planning to do it, but they haven’t yet focused on the little gardeners, (who in this case should be called “small potatoes”.) Therefore, you get a wonderful variety of ideas.
There is something very wonderful about the ideas of commoners, when they are ungoverned. People are amazingly experimental and come up with all sorts of theories I’d never dream up. Of course, many theories are wrong and get shot down and crash in flames, often by Mother Nature herself, (which makes a funny story if told correctly), but sometimes by another gardener who starts by saying, “I tried that once and…” It is actually a sort of peer-review, as ideas are bounced about in an atmosphere of freedom. I think it proves the superiority of Liberty to Socialism, but that would take a long post to describe, and this post is about the beetle battle.
One thing I wondered was, “Where do these blasted beetles come from?” There are two views. Some say they sleep in the soil, and some say they migrate up from the south like monarch butterflies. In any case, they ordinarily eat some Colorado species of wild poison-nightshade, and had a niche in nature in remote mountains, but for some reason potatoes are a species of the nightshade family that causes the beetle to go berserk, and allowed it to spread from coast to coast, driving gardeners equally berzerk.
There are all sorts of remedies mentioned by gardeners, most of which I don’t have time for. But one common theme I kept chancing upon was a joke. The post would have some catchy headline such as, “Surefire Organic Cure For Potato Beetles.” Then, when you read the post, you discovered the cure was to squish them. Apparently I’m not the only one who has sought a better way.
One interesting killer is a sort of bacteria which shrivels up the larvae, but that must be applied when the larvae are small, and washes off in rain, so some larvae may sneak by and get large, so after all that bother you wind up needing to squish them anyway. And they are slimly, ugly things.
It is amazing how swiftly these eating-machines can turn a plant from leaves to mere stalks, and any loss of more than 30% of your leaves starts to shrink your crop. Therefore, I do my best to kill the adults before they lay any eggs. But they are swift and sneaky, so I also hunt for eggs, which are bright yellow, but on the underside of leaves where you can’t see them. So, as I start to hill my potatoes, I look for leaves that look like something has eaten them.
Then I flip the leaf over…
Unlike the eggs of squash bugs, these eggs are soft, so you have to face the unpleasantness. There is no way around it. You must squish.
And, if you have a hundred potato plants, you must do this over and over and over and over and… And, so far, I think I’ve prevented around a thousand of those pretty little eggs from becoming those utterly disgusting larvae. I squish to avoid squishier squishing.