Greetings from Abingdon, VA! This is Deni, checking in for our NEW, Once-A-Month Blog session!  This month, one of our Grow Your Own participants, Lori & John and their family have volunteered to submit a fun piece about potato bugs… hope you enjoy it!

Potato Beetle Adults

“Stand aside boys of summer-there’s a new passion claiming the time & energy of strong young folks this summer.  It’s called ‘Tater Buggin‘ & the craze is sweeping the nation!  This sport offers something for everyone from the competitive to the casual, each member of your family is sure to enjoy ‘Tater Buggin’ on some level.


First, let’s consider the playing field- any patch of plain potatoes, not sweet potatoes, will serve as the perfect playing field.  Of course the larger your potato patch the more playing time you’ll have.  Gathering opponents (i.e. potato bugs) – if you plant potatoes, they will come.  Next you must acquire the proper equipment.  The personal preferences of your team members comes into play at this point.  For the casual, less aggressive players, recycled yogurt cups work especially well filled half full of water with a drop of dish detergent; just give the opponent (i.e. potato bugs) a gentle nudge off the potato plant leaf & into the water.  For the more aggressive players, two rocks per player will be needed; sandwich the opponent & squish.  And for those players who are down-right barbaric (boys perhaps?) the only equipment needed are their own fingers-sandwich & squish as above.  A timer may be needed if your players begin to spend so much time in the patch that they are getting sunburned & neglecting other summer activities like swimming & bike riding.

Object of the game:  Locate & terminate as many opponents as possible, including the little yellow clumps of eggs on the underside of leaves.

colorado potato beetle eggs pic

Game rules:  there really are no rules so long as the opponent is annihilated-drowning & squashing are particularly effective & easiest to count.  Each player is responsible for keeping count of his/her victims & reporting that number to the team captain.  One clump of eggs counts 1 point.  Each bug counts for one point.  These totals can be quite high; our home team recorded 1,845 last week.

colorado-potato-beetle-larvae pic

Celebrate & reward the winners as you like.  Remember it is a competitive sport & while there are few traveling teams forming leagues at this point, more are expected for next year so encourage your team to really get in there & master the game.   Another great thing about Tater Buggin’ is that the season lasts several weeks, usually from mid-May to around July 1st.  There’s still a little time to get in on the game this year.  Get out there & have fun in the garden!”