One might automatically think wasp or hornet when you mention, garden incests and yellow with black stripes, but that’s wouldn’t be the right answer in this case. I am talking about the garden pests commonly known as the adult potato beetle.
Even though this little creature is named as a potato beetle it also dines on eggplants, peppers and tomatoes.
Note that the adult potato beetle, as well as its larvae, aren’t interested in the potato tubers, as they prefer to eat the leaves, shots and stalk which slows down photosynthesis. This will reduce the crop based on the amount of damage they cause.
The adult potato beetle usually has yellow with black stripes making 10 stripes and easy to spot. If you were growing fields of potatoes you might have to get into some insecticide but for your garden you can go through and pick them off and destroy them.
The adult potato beetle, as well as their larva, destroy potato leaves by eating them. They will chew holes in the leaves making it tough for the plant to grow strong. They may also gnaw through the stem of the plant causing it to fall over and then of course the plant dies a horrible death.
The potato beetle larva is very close to the color of a red brick and will be about a quarter inch long, the same as the adult.
The potato beetle survives the winter buried in the soil, emerging in the early spring ready to lay eggs. They lay their eggs on the underside of the host plant. These eggs are yellow and oval. The fact that they are not interested in the roots or tubers means they need to get up the plant in order to lay eggs. Put something in their path that keeps them off the plant is your first defense. We use tin-foil around the stocks as soon as they emerge from the soil.
In the south you may have three generations of potato beetle per year and further north you may only have two but you still need to keep a close watch and destroy any egg clusters, adults and larvae immediately.