Sarah Stultz: It’s war with these small pests in my garden

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2021

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Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

I’m in the midst of a battle — with hundreds of small, pea-sized, red-colored bugs.

They’re not the ugliest bugs out there, but I sure let out a shriek when I saw how horrific they looked coated on the stems of my potato plants Monday night after they had stripped essentially all of the foilage off the plants.

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I battle these little terrors every year, but this is by far the worst they have been for me. I’ve tried spraying the plants with a few different things over the years and usually I get them under control and things turn out fine.

But this year, even though I’ve tried similiar methods as in the past, nothing seems to be killing these little pests.

I’ve heard of some people who go out to their gardens and pluck off the bugs one by one and remove them from their garden, but I haven’t been able to stomach that option yet.

And it’d be my luck that after I removed all the bugs from my garden plot by hand, another crew of them would simply invade from a plot or two away. 

I’ve tried relocating my potato plants to different areas in the garden each year, but it doesn’t seem to matter. At this rate I’m probably going to have to take a break from potatoes altogether for a few years before I start back up to see if that helps.

To make matters worse, on Monday night I also saw probably about a dozen of these little bugs had migrated over to two of my nearby tomato plants. Though those plants still look healthy, I’m hoping that when I get off work tonight and head back over there, there won’t be the start of more damage there, too.

It sure is a headache dealing with this kind of thing and working for hours at a time in hot temperatures to try to get a handle on my weeds, but it will all start paying off soon when the produce starts rolling in and we can taste fresh vegetables. I enjoy giving extra away to our friends and family and I even can some of it as well.

Though the season is still early, I’m hopeful as I think about what the next few months will bring.

In the meantime, I’m open to any and every tip about dealing with potato bugs that anybody might have out there. Please give me a call at 379-3433 or send me an email at

I’d be happy to bring you a loaf of fresh zucchini bread soon as a thank you.

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor at the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.