How to Kill Red Potato Bugs Organically

April Dowling

Commonly known as potato beetles, potato bugs are notorious for feeding on the leaves of potato plants and occasionally pepper, tomato and eggplant foliage. Adult potato bugs are generally yellow-striped, while the larvae are red colored.

Both adult potato bugs and the larvae are destructive to potato crops as these pests are capable of reducing potato yields and even completely killing potato plants. Since potato bugs and larvae quickly become resistant to insecticides, alternative control methods are necessary. You can kill red potato bug larvae using organic solutions.

  1. Fill a pail with 1 tbsp. of organic liquid soap and 1 gallon of water. Thoroughly mix the organic soap solution.

  2. Brush the red potato bug larvae off the potato foliage and into the soapy water. Wear gloves when handling potato bug larvae. Soapy water quickly kills potato bug larvae.

  3. Flush the soapy water and dead potato bug larvae down a drain.

  4. Mix a few drops of organic peppermint essential oil with 1 gallon of fresh water in a clean pail. Pour the peppermint oil solution into a spray bottle.

  5. Spray the peppermint oil solution liberally on the potato plant foliage to kill any red potato bug larvae you missed earlier. The peppermint oil solution also temporarily repels the red larvae.


You may substitute organic basil or eucalyptus essential oil for the peppermint essential oil.