Colorado Potato Beetles

A couple of weeks ago I was out admiring the rows of potatoes (and ignoring the weeds).

Until the 1700’s potatoes were grown for their flowers, not for eating, and considered botanical exotics.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear but a bunch of Colorado potato beetles munching their way down the row. Since then I’ve paid Olivia one dollar a week to go out 3 or 4 afternoons a week and look for beetles, picking any she finds into a bowl of hot soapy water. It seems to have taken care of the pests. None have been sighted in the last week, but we’re remaining vigilant.

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6 Responses to Colorado Potato Beetles

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think she’s underpaid! –Mom

  2. pablo says:

    Is hand picking sufficient to control these beetles? That seems like a gigantic job with an opponent who has the advantage of large numbers.

  3. farmer john says:

    One dollar a week sounds like a good deal. Is Olivia a migrant worker? Haha just kidding. My two daughters would not have let me off so easy.

  4. Pablo – I was surprised that it has controlled them so far. Last year they dessimated our potatoes, but then again we didn’t try anything to control them (and we still ended up with more potatoes than we could eat). We’re growing several varieties of potatoes, and the beetles were limited to the ones that bloomed earlier than the others. So I thought we’d start by picking them before trying to spray anything. About 2 days of picking one week, and 2 days the next seems to have taken care of them so far. Farmer John & my Mom (which is funny, because my dad’s name is John and he’s a farmer) – Olivia’s the one that suggested a dollar. I guess when you’re 7 years old and your allowance is $5 a week, a 20% bonus sounds pretty good. She also gets $2 per row of weeding, but she has to get pretty desperate for money before she’ll do weeding.

  5. I think that contravenes child labor laws. But it does teach her more about farm life. And poverty,hee,hee..

  6. Stephanie says:

    Hm… did they originate in Colorado? If so, I’m somewhat embarassed for my state! :)

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