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okiedawn1

Colorado Potato Beetles and the Turtle

Okiedawn OK Zone 7
13 years ago

Several days ago, I noticed a few newly-hatched Colorado Potato Beetles. There weren't many, so I just left them alone figuring one beneficial insect or animal or another surely would eat them. So, of course, nobody ate them and their numbers grew and grew as did the amount of damage they were doing to my rows of potatoes. (sigh)

So, late yesterday afternoon, I came inside from the garden and filled a plastic bowl with water, put a little dishwashing liquid in it, went back out to the garden and hand-picked them, dropping them into the soapy water to drown. I found one adult, and about 35 or 40 young 'uns, and got all but a couple that either fell or jumped off the leaves and into the mulch below. Once I had finished, I sat the bowl on the table and came inside to sit down and cool off. Of course, the main reason I came inside was because I had to wash my hands.....I'd touched bugs and I hate touching bugs! LOL

After a few minutes inside cooling off, I went back outside and was walking by that particular row of potatoes and I saw a head and some eyes looking up at me. It was a turtle. There he was, prowling through that potato bed, carefully inspecting the mulch and the plants. I suspect (although I have no proof) he was looking for potato bugs. Then I felt really bad because I'd just killed and disposed of something that he probably gladly would have eaten for dinner. So, I hope he found the few that got away from me. And, I learned a lesson. Next time I just need to be be more patient, and wait for the beneficials to do their thing. And, of course, there's no way he could have reached all the bugs because many of them were pretty high up on the potato plants, but next time, before I hand-pick them, I'll see if there's a turtle or frog down there under the plants and, if there is, I'll just knock the bugs off the plants so Mr./Ms. Turtle can eat them.

Dawn

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