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Larvae of the Colorado potato beetle

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Adult Colorado potato beetle

In the garden, it helps to know your foes. Last week, we spotted some strange “bugs” on our tomato plants. Turns out that they’re larvae of the Colorado potato beetle.

Because our potato crop is nearby, we wanted to take care of the problem right away. We put on gloves and scraped the larvae into a bucket of soapy water. Problem solved.

If you’re growing potato-family crops, watch for these pests, which can be found on potatoes, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and tomatillos.

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Colorado potato beetle eggs on the underside of a leaf

Look for the larvae and adult beetles, but also check under the leaves for tiny yellow-orange eggs, which you can crush. If you get the eggs, there’ll be no larvae, no beetles. The adult beetles are about 1/4 inch long, with yellow-orange bodies that have black stripes on the wings and black spots just behind the head. Control them by hand-picking, tossing them into a jar of soapy water.