Potato plants, while generally hardy, are susceptible to a beetle known as the Colorado potato beetle. Other pests that can wreak havoc on potato plants include grasshoppers and aphids. While there are commercial insecticides you can use, there are natural options that many gardeners prefer. If you are dealing with an infestation of potato pests, using a natural bug spray for plants may be the answer.
Neem oil is created by crushing the seeds of the neem plant and extracting the oil from them. This Indian plant is thought to have pesticide properties, and the oil is frequently used by organic gardeners and those who prefer to use natural bug sprays. Commercial neem oil preparations can be sprayed directly onto potato plants to remove pests. Subsequent treatment may be necessary if the first round is not completely effective.
Pyrethrin-based sprays are natural and typically contain oil, such as canola or sunflower oil. The oil is used to deliver and help the pesticide stick to the plants. Pyrethrins are developed from citronella and are used in many different natural bug sprays, including formulations for animals. This pesticide may need to be applied more than once to completely remove pests. It should also be reapplied to plants after rain to ensure long-term effectiveness.
Bio-pesticides typically contain bacteria intended to harm bugs but not plants. One common bacteria used in these preparations is Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt, as it is sometimes called. These sprays can be purchased in home and garden stores, but they should never be used in certified organic facilities since they have not yet been approved for this use. For regular home use, however, bio-pesticides have been shown to be effective in killing the potato beetle as well as many other pests.
Homemade natural bug sprays for potato plants can also be very effective. Typically, these recipes call for either a mixture of vinegar or dish soap that can be sprayed directly onto the plants. Use plain dish soap without any dyes or extra ingredients. Add about one tablespoon of soap to a spray bottle of water, and thoroughly douse the plants. This may need to be repeated until the insects are gone.
Kate McFarlin is a licensed insurance agent with extensive experience in covering topics related to marketing, small business, personal finance and home improvement. She began her career as a Web designer and also specializes in audio/video mixing and design.