Potato insects

potato insects

Potatoes have a vast market since many communities globally use it.

However, many pests attack the crop above and below the soil level in the farm.

Such insects eat away and suck the sap from the leaves.

To the tubers, they make shallow trenches thus enhancing rotting or paving the way for other diseases to attack the crop.

Therefore for you to succeed in the potato farming, you have to know the symptoms of these insects on your crop.

As the farmer that gives you the advantage of controlling the pests with the right insecticides for potatoes at the earliest time.

That’s why I wish to take you through the ordinary potato insects.

Besides the posts will also give you clues on how to identify them and even the right insecticides to use.

1.Green peach aphid

These are tiny small soft insects usually green that suck the sap of potatoes leaves.

They can be winged or wingless.

To detect the aphid’s infestation on your potato plant, look at the underside of the leaves and terminals.

In addition the aphids can extend to the tuber sprout in the stores and case viral infection to the potato seeds.

After sucking the sap, the aphids excrete sugary substance on the leaves that enhances the growth of black fungi.

The sucking action of the aphids weakens the crop.

To control aphids use any of the following insect ides; Acetamiprid, Bifenthrin, Abamectin, Thiamethoxam, Pymetrozine, Methomyl, Malathion, Imidacloprid, Dimethoate or lambda-cyhalothrin


2.Potato psyllid

The nymphs usually attach themselves at the leaf underside and suck the sap.

Consequently the plant leaves curl at the edges and also turns pink at the edges.

In most cases the psyllid also transmits the bacterium Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum.

When that happens, the stem develops swollen nods and at the same time the vascular tissues turn brown too.

Eventually the potato become scorched in appearance and eventually drops to the ground.

To control the potato psyllid, use the insecticides Abamectin, Lambda-cyhalothrin, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Thiamethoxam, Abamectin or Bifenthrin.


3.Leaf hoppers

The leaf hoppers are about 3mmm and very mobile.

They also suck the sap from the leaves and weaken the crop.

Furthermore the leaf hoppers also contaminate and introduce other diseases like mycoplasmal diseases to the crop.

So how do you detect leaf hoppers in your potatoes?

Turn the leaves underside and check for the lymph or adult leaf hoppers.

Furthermore if the leaves of the potato crop appear to be burnt at the edges, roll at the tops or turn yellow then it means the crop has been attacked by the insect.

Serious infestation may cause the abrupt death of the plant.

To control leafhoppers use insecticides such as Acetamiprid, Carbaryl, Lambda-cyhalothrin, Deltamethrin, Dimethoate, Dinotefuran, Imidacloprid, Indoxacarb, Malathion, Bifenthrin, Thiamethoxam, Methomyl.



4.Flea beetles

The flea beetles are small insects that jump on the potato leaves.

The beetles bore holes of less than 3mm on the leaves.

When the beetles drill several holes on the leaves it threatens the drying of the plant since it affects the photosynthesis process too.

In addition their white thin larvae also affect the crop.

They are easily identified by the short legs attached the thorax.

The larvae eat and cause damage on the rots and tubers.

If you look at such tuber you will either notice holes or severe scratches on the skin.

Consequently it paves way for fungal infections.

To control flea beetle use any of the following insecticides; Methomyl, Carbaryl, Lambda-cyhalothrin, Deltamethrin.




Like aphids, thrips are also small insects .the insect feed on the underside leaf cells thus making it weak and eventually dries.

Severe infestation of the insect causes wilting of the crop.

If you turn the underside leaf of the wilting plant, you will notice the brown nymph or the dark adults.

In addition you will also see silvery spots on the leaf backside.

Thrips can easily be controlled by Abamectin and Malathion.



6.Potato tuber moth

The potato tuber moth can attack the crop either in the store or in the field.

But the insects mostly thrive in warm and dry conditions.

The moths exists in different species like the Symmetrischema plaesiosema , Phthorimaea operculella, Scrobipalpula absoluta or  Tecia solanivora .

They attack various parts of the plant.

The larvae bore through the stem and the tubers. They can also mine the leaves.

The larval excrement at the store is a sure indication of the potato tuber infestation.

To control the potato tuber moths, apply the insecticides used for controlling leafhoppers and aphids.

However for best results apply the chemicals at the beginning of the planting season.

Reapply the insecticides almost the end of the season when the vines are drying and the potato tubers are maturing too.


7.Cut worms

The cut worms that attack potatoes are generally the larvae of noctuid moths that delight in cutting stems of tender plants.

During the day, the grayish cutworms burry themselves at the base of the crop.

They are easily identified by the spot and line patterns on their back. At the same time the tubers that are laid close to the soil surface manifest gouged out cavities by the pest.

To control cutworms, apply the following chemicals during the early stage of the potato crops; Methomyl, and Carbaryl.

8.Andean Potato Weevils or White Worms

The adult white worm is dark brown and measures about 8 or 10 mm long.

Owing to their color they perfectly camouflage themselves to the soil during the day.

At night they become active and eat the crop leaves.

The heavy attack results in the boring holes in the tubers by the larvae.



The wireworm pests thrive in temperate climate.

The shimmering larvae have small legs located at the thorax.

The larvae mostly reside underground.

When they attack the potato crop, they make outward tunnels on the tubers.

However they do not make their homes inside the tubers.

To fight wireworm use Thiamethoxam, Imidacloprid, Fipronil or Bifenthrin insecticides.



10.White Grubs

Are larvae of large beetles and possess legs at the thorax.

The pests have curved bodies that measures around 5cm.

when you turn your grazing field to a potato farm; you are likely to suffer severe attack by the white grub pests.

When they attack the potato farm, the pests make deep holes in the potato tuber.

Use the insecticides Bifenthrin to control  white grubs



11. Mites Polyphagotarsonemus latus Tetranychus

Mites otherwise known as red spider are exceptionally small pests.

The tiny pests feed on the potato leaves thus leaving behind the tan color on the foliage.

Heavy manifestation of the mites eventually forces the plant to wilt.

The whit mite on the other hand severely affects the sprouts and young leaves.

You can easily identify such leaves by the deformed shape and growth.

To control red spider mite use any of the following mixtures; etoxazole+ Abamectin, Spirodiclofen+Abamectin, Spirodiclofen+Abamectin, Fluazinam, and Pyriproxyfen



12.Leafminer Flies

Leafminer flies and their larvae which measure approximately 2.5 mm are serious potato pests.

In most cases they become a serious threat to potato farming when you use insecticides that kill their predators.

The larvae for the flies make tunnels on the leaves of the potato crop thus drying it up.


13.White flies

The white flies are pests to a number of crops including potatoes.

The adult flies hide underside the leaves.

In addition the nymphs also stick to the leaves underside firmly.

They fed on the plant juice which eventually weakens the plant.

The honey dew excreted by the flies leads to the development of the black fungus.

To control white flies use Malathion insecticide.



14.Blister beetles

The adult beetle measures about 10 to 15 mm attack other crops like tomatoes and cabbages as well.

When they attack the potato plantation, they’ll concentrate on particular parts.

They feed on the leaves ad leave only the mid rib.

To control white flies, use Bifenthrin,



15.Leaf beetles

The adult leaf beetles are yellow green in color with stripes.

When they attack the potato crop, they bore holes similar in the leaves.

The holes made by these pest is slightly larger than those made by the flea beetle

During the wet season their larvae develop and gnaw at the potato tuber surface thus reducing its quality.

In addition the gnawed tuber becomes vulnerable to the soil pathogens.

With the use of Carbaryl, Lambda-cyhalothrin, Dinotefuran



16.Cabbage looper

The caterpillar is greenish but has yellow and white stripes on its sides.

They move my looping.

They feed on the developing leaves and leave behind irregular holes.

At the same time you might spot greenish brown excrements of the larvae on the leaves.


17.Colorado potato beetle

It’s a destructive pest that feeds on the potato leaves.

The oval shaped pest can defoliate the potato crop and cause it stagnant growth.

The pest first attack the shoots of new leaves then the old leaves follows on his list.

Eventually the plant remains only with the veins and thus can’t form tubers.

To control the Colorado potato beetle use the insecticides Bacillus thuringiensis, Indoxacarb, Indoxacarb, or Abamectin.



To succeed in potato farming, you have to be well acquainted with the potato insects and their symptoms on the crops.

Being thus knowledgeable will endow you with the right skills, to detect any entrance of the insects into your farm at the earliest opportunity.

You can stop the pests with the right insecticides for potatoes before they spread into the entire farm, but only if you are knowledgeable in potato pests.

The post equips you with those common insects and the pesticides to control them.

So your role is to go through the post several times and memorize the insects.