Friday, June 10, 2011

Ugh... Potato Beetles

Last Year, our potato plants became covered in beetles.  This is how it played out:

We put out a beetle bag, figuring that was a good way to not have to spray our plants.
It did no good.
Our pants disappeared at an alarming rate.
I researched: they're Colorado Potato Beetles.
Colorado Potato Beetles are very hard to kill, go through many life cycles in a growing season and burrow in the ground to survive the winter.
Never fear!  There is an organic biopesticide that fungally kills almost exclusively this bug and is totally safe for people.
But you have to spend a ton for even the smallest ammount, which will treat many acres.  Its for farmers.
Don't my 10 potato plants deserve to be bug and chemical free?
Nick found an "approved for organic production" mix at Agway.
The chemical is hard to find info on.
There is nothing left of our potato plants anyways.

Last week, I saw two beetles on our potato plants.  We expected this, since we did not properly deal with the problem last year.  I asked nick to spray them.  He forgot.  Today, they are everywhere and the plants already look much worse for the wear.  Today, I will make sure he does not forget to spray them.

After much research last year, I discovered B. Bassiana, a fungal pesticide marketed under the name Mycotrol and it seemed like the perfect soloution.  It's a living organism, a fungus, not a chemical and it targets a very small group of bugs without harming more beneficial bugs.  It is so safe you can eat something that had been sprayed with it that very day, and it would continue to live on the plant, giving it protection for the whole season.  Unfortunately, while the containers it was sold in looked small, they were quite expensive... because they treat many acres.  The purchase would have been silly.  We could have bought a years worth of organic potatoes for that price, prolly.

Last year, while searching Agway, Nick stumbled upon Bonide's Colorado Potato Beetle Beater.  He snatched it up cuz it said "For Organic Production".  I don't know if we actually used it last year or not (it was kinda a moot point, by the time our research was done).  The Active Ingredients, spinosyns A & D are a little harder to find info on, but i did learn that they are approved for organic food in the us, the chemical was originally found being produced by a bacteria but is now laboratory made and it doesn't harm good bugs (like bees) once it has dried.  I guess i'm just gonna hafta trust the USDA on this one, cuz the info is hard to find.  We are going to spray our potatoes, but reluctantly, I admit.  I'll Keep you posted on how it turns out.  

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