#545: Gardening on Nantucket: Colorado Potato Beetles

A garden on Nantucket is a battlefield.
Oh, it looks lush and abundant:
Dozens of potato plants,
planted in last year’s chicken yard.
But close up, the Colorado potato beetle attacks:
This is the second year we’ve had them.
Only 1/4 long and only four so far but
the battle rages:
Each beetle lays at least 300 eggs,
I destroyed one egg mass but obviously missed another.
These tiny guys can defoliate a plant in a day.
We garden organically so they have to be hand-picked.

And not fed to the chickens.
See the beetle larva between the hen’s feet?
Chickens don’t eat Colorado Potato beetles.
They hide under leaves,
but I’m a relentless hunter.
Yesterday alone I squashed 105 larvae.
Including this one, inside a potato flower.
I don’t mind killing them,
they reduce yield and look like Jabba the Hutt.


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