Potato growers and agricultural machine builders in Biddinghuizen in the Netherlands have come up with a way to deal with Colorado potato beetles without using pesticides. Infestations by Colorado beetles, a North American import, have been increasing in Europe because of rising temperatures.
Its larvae can devastate a field of potato plants in a very short time. To remove the Colorado beetle and its ravenous larvae, all the farmer has to do is to attach a custom built machine with rotating plastic flaps to a tractor and swat them off the plants.
The insects are then deposited in a container and left. That gives other insects, like spiders or ladybirds, which have also fallen victim to the beetle catcher, time to recover and make their way out, leaving just the colorado potato beetles which are subsequently drowned.
“They seem to be too lazy to come out and are content with munching on the leaves that have come off in the swatting process,” Ard Klompe of agricultural innovators FieldWorkers said. The new machine is a great solution for organic farmers but traditional farmers are interested too, as chemicals have been going up in price.
Source: DutchNews.nl. Original report here