What are potato beetles and how do you get rid of them?

Also known as Colorado potato beetles, these 3/8 inch, yellow-and-black striped insects and their reddish, black-spotted larvae can rapidly defoliate an entire potato patch.

When the adults first appear in early summer, handpick them. Inspect potato plants several times a week, collecting adults, larvae, and orange-yellow egg masses: drop them into a can of kerosene or soapy water. If you get rid of these first arrivals and their offspring, you will probably be free of potato beetles all summer. Alternatively, you can spray at weekly intervals with carbaryl or methoxychlor.