Something is Eating My Potato Blooms and Leaves

Asked May 27, 2016, 12:11 PM EDT

Found one potato plant with all leaves completely eaten off and all plants with flowers eaten off. Checked plants for potato beetle - nothing, no beetles, no larva, no eggs. Dug up one plant - small but good looking tubers, nothing in the ground to indicate infestation. No holes in leaves and all plants are healthy. I got no clue. Any help is appreciated.

Cumberland County North Carolina

4 Responses

Without seeing the actual pest that is causing this damage, we can't give you a definitive answer. Even though you haven't seen them, it could still be Colorado Potato Beetle as well as blister beetle or even hornworms. You may want to spray your potatoes with liquid Sevin or anything that is labeled for hone vegetable gardens that has the active ingredient permethrin in it. As always, read and follow the directions on the label when using these pesticides. For more information, contact our extension master gardener hotline at 910-321-6882.

Thank you very much for the response Kenneth. I've checked the plants several times today include tonight and beetles, no worms, no little bugs....nothing. I have put Sevin dust all over them in the hopes that it will help keep whatever is doing this away, but with the flowers having been eaten, will I still get taters. They had been in bloom for about a week or so. Again, thanks for the response and have a great evening and a good weekend.

Yes, you should still get potatoes even though the blossoms are eaten.

Whew!!! That had me a bit worried. Thank you for clarifying that. Now...this morning I walked out and found that one, just one stalk, branch, had all it's leaves eaten off. And as before could not find anything that could have done this. I'm starting to think maybe rabbits are getting into the garden at night and maybe deer ate the flowers as I can find nothing else that could have done this in this particular manner. Thanks for all the help and if I discover what is doing all this I will let you know. Happy potatoing.