Farmers watching out for potato beetles this year
POSTED: Monday, June 2, 2014 - 5:55pm
UPDATED: Monday, June 2, 2014 - 6:18pm
Lindale, Tx (KETK) — Potato growers are experiencing a huge infestation of potato beetles this season.
Victor Zillmer, who owns Zillmer farms, said this is the worst he's seen in years.
"This year between the late freeze and the potato beetles, it's been quite a challenge to grow potatoes," said Zillmer.
Zillmer is not to sure what brought so many, but it destroyed about 25% of his potato crop.
"Basically, you're left with a bunch of sticks, so if you wanted potatoes you had to do something to keep your potatoes, so this year we had to spray them for the first time in many years actually," said Zillmer.
He said the beetles started infesting his potato crop in April, before a period of heavy rain.
"All of a sudden, the plants were covered with adult beetles. You know they're laying eggs and the larva is the one that does all the damage."
And he says they covered his plant.
"They were coated like ants. I've never seen an infestation that high. So, you had a choice, you either spray or lost the entire crop."
The late freeze, the heavy rain, Zillmer doesn't know what brought so many this year.
"I haven't seen an infestation this bad in a long long time. It's just we lost or won the lottery depending on how you look at it."
But, Chad Gulley with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension said with various insects some years are worse than others.
If it's weather or the beetles looking for a food source, you have to stay on top of it.