Colorado Potato Beetles reproduce efficiently


<div>The harmfulness of the Colorado potato beetle is based on its high reproductive capability. Under Finnish conditions, a new generation is born after two months on average. One beetle can produce hundreds of offspring in one summer. The rate at which they develop depends on the temperature, and the changeable rainy weather currently prevailing has slowed down the development of the beetles. All of the beetles have been destroyed in the two findings of the beetle this summer and new colonies have not been found.</div>

Colorado potato beetles are champions at reproducing. As one beetle will produce up to hundreds of progeny in one summer, a population of several thousand will be produced in just a couple of summers.  The weather conditions during the summer are of vital importance to their development. If the summer is hot and sunny the beetle’s development cycle will be faster.

In Finland it has been possible to destroy the findings on time, and the beetle has not been able to establish itself permanently in Finland. It has also been possible to avoid damage caused by the beetle on the potato plantings. If the beetles are not controlled or destroyed, there will be remarkable crop losses after only a few summers. The offspring of a single beetle could then destroy the potato plantings on one hectare.

The Colorado potato beetle has spread into wide areas of Europe and North America where the beetle is a native species. The beetle is not found in Scandinavia, but it has attempted to spread to Finland from behind the south-eastern border for nearly 10 years.

In the beetle’s permanent habitats control has to be ongoing, as the potato crops would otherwise be reduced by the beetle destroying the plant. On commercial farms the beetles are controlled by spraying with plant protection products. The most efficient way of controlling the beetles on non-commercial potato plots is to collect the beetles by hand. The beetles will quickly form resistant strains if the same plant protection products are used repeatedly. This is why in Finland we absolutely have to avoid the use of sprays on our own initiative.

Any findings or sightings of Colorado potato beetles have to be reported immediately to the agricultural department of the nearest TE Centre or to Evira’s plant protection unit.

For more information, please contact:
Senior Inspector Olli Elfving, tel. +358 20 77 25048
Deputy Director Raija Valtonen tel. +358 20 77 25040
Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Plant Protection Unit


Related Categories: