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Have Colorado Potato Beetles?

Peony Jay

Joined: Mar 24, 2012
Posts: 145
Location: B.C.
Hi. I am new to permaculture but have been a lifelong organic gardener.
My husband loves potatoes and insists on planting potatoes in our garden every year. Well, we have those bleeping Colorado Potato Beetles every year. I use the old search and destroy method. (Squeeze the eggs on the underside of each leaf and pick off the adults.) Have any of you planted companion plants like catnip, tansy and sage? Did it work?

What methods would you use to get rid of CPDs?

BTW, I'm starting a new permaculture garden in my actual Zone 1 area because my garden and compost pile are so far away. (More like the Zone 3 area of my land.) I have lots of bush wackin' to do and the soil needs serious building up. Also, I may wish to dig up a berm and swale to capture the water that seriously pours out of the hillside each spring!!

Wish me luck!!

My Marxist Feminist Dialectic Brings All The Boys To The Yard!
John Polk

Joined: Feb 20, 2011
Posts: 6877
Location: Currently in Seattle. Probably moving 1 hour north by end of the year.
Plant beans by your spuds. Beans help repel Colorado potato beetle, and potatoes help repel the Mexican Bean Beetle.
Good combo.
Peony Jay

Joined: Mar 24, 2012
Posts: 145
Location: B.C.
Thank you.
Craig Dobbelyu

Joined: Dec 22, 2011
Posts: 1187
Location: Maine (zone 5)
Eliot Coleman reccomends mulching heavily with straw just after potato emergence. Soil moisture and temperature are more stable that way so the potatoes are less stressed. Less stress=less bugs. I'm also planning on using a light row cover until the bugs have found greener fields elsewhere.

"You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result”


- Compost in training
Peony Jay

Joined: Mar 24, 2012
Posts: 145
Location: B.C.
Thanks for your input. I think I already have the blasted bugs. They overwinter in the soil. I think a row cover wouldn't help in my situation.
Craig Dobbelyu

Joined: Dec 22, 2011
Posts: 1187
Location: Maine (zone 5)
Are you planting your potatoes in the same area every year? If you go through the plants and crush all the bugs and eggs you can find, then cover it with row cover, you could be able to determine whether they are flying in from another place or coming up from the soil. You may find that you're getting more bugs from afar than from the soil. Or vise verse. That may help prevent re-infestation. Know thy enemy. Think long term. Best of luck.

Let us know how it goes.
Cee Ray

Joined: Nov 26, 2011
Posts: 98
Location: BC Interior, zone 5a
from Growing in The Garden and Greenhouse According to the Homeodynamic Method (

Even potatoes, if grown for two consecutive years on the same plot, are surely affected by colorado potato beetle, as the colorado potato beetle is an insect that winters underground. Once the potatoes are put in the ground in the second year the colorado potato beetle awakens and attacks. There are three steps to avoid this:

1) open the furrows in the soil at least 15 days before the sowing of potatoes and sprinkle with a juice, diluted in water, obtained from shoots of potatoes. This reawakens the insects which emerge from the "lethargy" and, not finding the potatoes in the ground, will die of hunger. It is important that the spraying is carried out at least 15 days before sowing, since the colorado potato beetle can withstand even 7-10 days without food.
2) spread some lithotamnium algae powder in the sowing furrow , and then sow. This powder, in addition to being a fertilizer, will damage the jaw of the insects
3) collect and mix colorado potato beetle larvae in jars of water exposed to the sun for about 10 - 15 days until the larvae lose their form. Sprinkling this liquid (diluted) takes away the colorado potato beetle for a fortnight.

There is also an inhibitory action brought by growing some marigolds in the row of potatoes.
Karin Schott

Joined: Apr 19, 2012
Posts: 10
Location: Western foothills of Maine
I was going to try another method I heard of this year and plant them later than I usually do. We have black flies here in Maine and I usually put them in in early May. It seems a scurry to get as much in before the flies appear and make working outside a little crazy making. But I heard that if you plant the spuds later then the the beetles can't find them when they expect them. I use row covers too and have had good luck with them.
Walter Jeffries

Joined: Nov 21, 2010
Posts: 1026
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
We use chickens and ducks. We put a few into the potato patch for a couple of days and then take them out. They gobble up all the insects and then are gone before they trample things.


-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:

Check out our Kickstarting the Butcher Shop project at:
Peony Jay

Joined: Mar 24, 2012
Posts: 145
Location: B.C.
Thanks for all the great ideas! BTW, I have tried marigolds w/o success.
Varina Lakewood

Joined: May 15, 2012
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
I live in Colorado, and have certainly seen infestations of Colorado potato beetle. However, I've been growing potatoes in the same spot for three years and growing tomatoes every year without seeing even one. I never thought to wonder why until I read a couple days ago that catnip repels them. We have catnip growing wild all over our backyard/garden area. Maybe its a coincidence, but its worth a try.
James Hambley

Joined: Mar 17, 2015
Posts: 1
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Joseph Lofthouse

Joined: Dec 16, 2014
Posts: 713
Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands
Colorado Potato Beetles are local year-round residents in my garden. They don't bother my potatoes even though beetles and potatoes are both common in my garden. The beetles live in my garden all year. That means that I can make a multi-year contract with them. I can influence both their genetics and their culture.

My contract with the beetles goes something like this:

  • I will never apply a poison to my garden nor harass any beetle that abides by the contract.
  • The beetles are welcome to eat the wild solanum that grows as a weed in my garden. Solanum physalifolium. I will not harm beetles that eat my weeds. I will allow the weed to grow in some areas of the garden and will not completely eliminate it.
  • Any beetle that is found on a potato, tomato, pepper, or eggplant will be immediately crushed. Any domesticated food plant that attracts beetles more than once will be immediately killed.

  • That's pretty much the contract... I let the beetles eat my weeds and they leave my vegetables alone. This strategy would not work with insects that blow in on the wind, but it works with year round residents of my garden... I think that a mother beetle is most likely to lay her eggs on the same species of plant that she hatched on. This is the beetle culture that I mentioned. Baby beetles grow up and do what they learned from their mother. There is probably a self-reinforcing genetic component as well, because the beetles come to prefer to eat my solanum weed: Those that eat vegetables are less likely to reproduce.

    Once in a while one tomato or potato plant will get infested repeatedly. The beetles that are doing the infesting, and the vegetable plant are both killed. Because I don't want to grow vegetables that are producing smells/textures/whatever that confuse the beetles and muddy the terms of the contract. And I don't want to raise a generation of beetles that finds domestic plants attractive. So I'm doing animal breeding on the beetles, and plant breeding on my crops so that the two can peacefully co-exist.

    Silt/clay, high-altitude, super-arid, sun-drenched, irrigated-desert garden. Cold radiant-cooled nights. ~100 frost free days. Grow most of my own locally adapted landrace seed. GDD10C ~1300. Author of Mother Earth News: Landrace Gardening Blog.
    I agree. Here's the link:
    subject: Have Colorado Potato Beetles?