If your potato plants look like this, you have a visitor.
It seems each new year brings another pest to the garden. It’s more of an entomology class sometimes than one in botany.
So when I found just 2 of the potatoes looking like this, I did some research. Apparently the larva of this particular moth likes taters just as much as corn, and in these parts the corn isn’t nearly big enough when the larvae are ready to bore.
So here’s how they do it: A larva can overwinter in spent plants or even in a cocoon of sorts, and comes out in early spring to grow into a male or a female egg laying moth. Once the larva hatches out of the egg, the whole process begins again, this time when the corn is ready.
So although I only found 2 damaged potato plants out of about 8 dozen, critters like this can multiply rapidly. So I dusted the beds with DE, as you can see here, because that’s what I had on hand. I may also pick up some Bt, just to play it safe. I’m concerned in part because the corn bed is not very far away, and the adult moths would have no problem finding it. Seriously, they could walk there. In the picture above the corn bed is just to the right and in between the 2 potato beds.
I’m also troubled because they attack so many of the crops we have planted. I listed some below and added a link for more.
So I will keep an eye out for the moths and be diligent in looking for their eggs. I have nothing against bugs, but I figure since we live in the country they have plenty of other opportunities to thrive outside my garden.
In fact, outside the garden they are rather attractive to see.
Binomial name: Ostrinia nubilalis
Description: Irregular egg clusters usually on the underside of leaves, pale hairless larva, adult is yellowish brown wavy wing markings, about 1″ with the same wingspan.
Plants affected: Corn, potatoes, peppers, beans and more.
Predators: Green lacewings, Downy woodpeckers, Ladybugs.