Dealing with some pesky garden critters

Anyone who has a garden of any kind, or lives in the country, knows there are a lot of things which attack our plants of all kinds. Here are just a very few of the common ones.
oColorado Potato Beetle:
This is the common “potato bug,” about 3/8 of an inch long, and most gardeners are quite familiar with it. It is sort of “hump-backed” and yellowish orange, with several black stripes running down its back. The larval stage is darker reddish, with some rows of black spots on each side.
Both adults and larvae eat the leaves of potatoes (and some other plants, too). In fact, they’re so ravenous that they can do a lot of damage to the potatoes in your garden in a very short time.
The eggs are orange, and are laid on the underside of the potato leaves or on grass and weeds in your potato patch. Adults pass the winter buried in the ground. In the spring, they often lay eggs on the very first leaves of your plants.
They can have two or even three generations in a season.
In a small garden, you can pick the adults and larvae off, and do away with them. Or you can spray your potatoes. But be sure to use a “systematic” spray, meaning that the spray sticks to the leaves and poisons them when they eat the leaves.
The Colorado Potato Beetle actually is a native of the Colorado area. When settlement happened in that area, it happily turned to potatoes as its main diet–and has been living on potatoes almost ever since.
It actually reached New York, right across the continent, in only about 15 years.
oCucumber Beetles:
There are two species of these. Both have a greenish, yellow background with black spots or stripes, as the case may be.
They are fairly small beetles, about 1/4 inch or so in length. These also start early in the spring, with the very first growth of your plants. And they also can have several generations in one summer.
These little beetles carry a bacterial infection which affects a lot of the plants on which they feed. Although they are called Cucumber Beetles, they also go for squash, pumpkins, gourds, and so on.
Once more, both the larvae and the adults eat the plants. So to try to do away with them, you need a poisonous spray which the beetles will eat. Really, these are fairly easy to keep under control.
Note: these insects are both beetles but don’t be misled. There are many other insects which love your garden–moths, butterflies, flies, true bugs, wasps . . . the list goes on.
As any plant grower knows, control of insects means continued vigilance.

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