10 Natural Ways to Control Potato Bugs [Homemade Spray & Other Remedies]

Potato bugs, also known as the Colorado potato beetles, are small rounded yellow beetles with black stripes on their body. Both the larvae and adult bugs feed on the leaves of potato plants, which can often cause massive damage to the plants.

They often also attack tomato, eggplant, and pepper plants. If these bugs are not controlled, they can easily kill the plants or reduce the yield heavily.

Therefore, it is very important to get rid of these beetles from your garden if you are planning to plant potatoes. In this article, we will discuss some of the best natural ways you can use to get rid of these nasty pests. 

How To Get Rid of Potato Bugs Naturally?

Below are 10 effective ways to kill potato bugs naturally. These methods include homemade spray, natural pesticides, and several other natural remedies and homemade solutions to get rid of potato bugs naturally.

1. Removal of Potato bugs manually

Removal of Potato bugs manually

One of the most effective ways to get rid of potato beetles from your garden is by hand-picking them.

Although this method is tedious, it is very effective and quite simple.

By picking and dropping the bugs directly in soap water, you can make sure that all the bugs are dead. 

Required Items

Step by Step Process

  • Fill a bucket with 2 gallons of water. Add 1 tablespoon of insecticidal soap into the water and mix thoroughly to combine everything. 
  • Wear some rubber gloves before picking the bugs to protect your hand. Start the process in the early morning, since most of the bugs are inactive during that time. 
  • Go through each leaf of the affected plants and pick every adult potato bug or nymph you find. Drop them immediately into the soapy water. You can also squash any eggs you find with your fingers.  
  • Once you have picked all the bugs, you can discard the water along with the bugs away from your home. 
  • Repeat the process after 3 to 4 days to get rid of any remaining bugs. 


You must hand-pick the bugs every day for a few days in a row to get rid of them completely. 

2. Homemade spray for potato bugs using Vinegar

Homemade spray for potato bugs using Vinegar

Vinegar is primarily made up of acetic acid, which can kill any insect on contact.

When you spray vinegar on potato bugs, they will be affected immediately, and they will die soon after.

You can easily make a vinegar spray at home to use on your garden plants. 

Required Items

Step by Step Process

  • Combine ½ cup of water with ½ cup of white vinegar in a spray bottle. Shake the mixture well before using it on your plants. 
  • Spray the vinegar mixture directly on the potato bugs. Make sure to check the underside of the leaves as well. 
  • Any bug that comes in contact with the vinegar will die soon afterward. 
  • You can re-apply the spray after 3 to 4 days if there are any bugs left on the plants. 


Make sure to dilute the vinegar in the proper ratio so that it does not burn your plant leaves. 

3. Cayenne pepper spray

Cayenne pepper spray

Cayenne pepper is commonly used as an insect repellent due to its strong properties.

When the cayenne pepper comes in contact with an insect, they feel an intense irritation, which prompts them to go away from that area.

When you pair it with the strong scent of garlic, most insects including potato bugs will stay off the plant for at least a week or so. 

Required Items

Step by Step Process

  • Separate the cloves from one garlic and put them in a blender along with ½ cup water. Make a paste by blending it. 
  • Add ½ cup of water to the paste and strain it through a fine cloth. 
  • Add 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper to the garlic water and mix thoroughly. Pour the liquid into a spray bottle for your garden. 
  • Spray the mixture directly on the bugs and their eggs. Do not forget to check the underside of the leaves, since a lot of bugs often hide there. 
  • If you continue to see a lot of bugs, you can repeat the spraying process again after a week or so. 


This spray will keep the insects away from your plants, but it will not kill them. So you must use preventative methods along with this method to keep the insects away long-term. 

4. Diatomaceous earth 

Diatomaceous earth as potato bugs repellent

Diatomaceous earth powder is a fine white powder that has microscopic shards which help pierce the body of certain insects including potato bugs.

When the insect walks over the powder, they get pierced by the powder, which eventually dehydrates them and kills them.

This is a highly effective method for getting rid of potato bugs. 

Required Items

Step by Step Process

  • Start by identifying the leaves that are affected by the potato bugs. 
  • Use an applicator to dust diatomaceous earth powder directly on the affected areas. 
  • You can apply the powder directly to any potato bug you find. 
  • The bugs will die after 3 to 4 days. You can re-apply the powder again if you continue seeing more potato bugs. 


If the powder gets wet due to rain or overhead watering, it will not work properly. In such a case, you must re-apply the powder. 

5. Natural spray for potato bugs using Neem oil 

Natural spray for potato bugs using Neem oil

Neem oil is derived from the kernel of the neem seed, and it is commonly used as an organic pesticide.

Neem oil has low toxicity, so it needs to come in direct contact with the insect to kill it.

However, when used properly, neem oil is extremely effective at getting rid of potato bugs. 

Required Items

  • Neem oil
  • Dish soap 
  • Water 
  • Spray bottle 

Step by Step Process

  • In a spray bottle combine 1 cup of water with 2 teaspoons of neem oil. Add a few drops of dish soap into the liquid and mix everything together. 
  • Shake the bottle well before spraying it all over the affected leaves. 
  • You should try to drench any potato bug and their nymph with the spray for best results. The bugs should die within a few days. 
  • You can reapply the spray after a week or so if needed. 


Do not overuse the mixture to avoid killing beneficial insects like ladybugs and bees

6. Spinosad 

Spinosad as natural pesticide for potato bugs

Spinosad is a natural pesticide that is produced by a type of soil bacteria. It is highly effective against various insects including potato bugs.

You can apply this to the soil before the potato season to kill any potato bugs in the soil.

You can also apply it directly to the plants to kill the nymphs and eggs. 

Required Items

Step by Step Process

  • In a spraying can, add 1 gallon of water with 3 tablespoons of spinosad concentrate. 
  • Spray the mixture directly on the bugs on your plants. Make sure to spray the mixture to the bottom of the leaves as well.
  • You can also spray the mixture into the soil to kill the bugs that live underground.  
  • Any bugs that come in contact with the liquid will die within a few hours. 


Spinosad is toxic to various insects, including beneficial ones. So, you should never overuse this product. 

7. Bacillus thuringiensis

Bacillus thuringiensis

Bacillus thuringiensis is a soil bacteria that is non-toxic to plants and humans, but highly effective at killing certain insects including potato bugs.

This bacteria produces a protein called crystal proteins, which are highly toxic to potato bugs.

So, when you spray the bacteria around your plants, the insects will die within a few days due to the toxicity. 

Required Items

Step by Step Process

  • Mix the appropriate amount of Bacillus thuringiensis powder into a gallon of water. 
  • Spray the mixture over and around the potato plants that are affected by potato bugs. Try to do this process during the early hours of the day or in the evening. 
  • Within a few days, the potato bugs will be dead. 
  • You can re-apply Bacillus thuringiensis again after a week or so if required. 


Do not apply any bread-spectrum insecticide after using this product to avoid killing the active bacteria. 

8. Beneficial Insects 

Beneficial Insects

Beneficial insects like ladybugs and stink bugs are predatory insects. They feed on the eggs, larvae, and nymphs of other insects like beetles and caterpillars.

So, adding beneficial insects to your garden can help you control the population of potato bugs. You can usually find beneficial insects in gardening stores. 

Required Items

  • Ladybugs 
  • Stink bugs 

Step by Step Process

  • Water your garden thoroughly before releasing the ladybugs. Release them during the evening to prevent them from dying. 
  • You can also release stink bugs during this time. 
  • The bugs will seek out the eggs and nymphs of potato bugs. 
  • You can plant flowering plants around your garden to encourage these insects to stay. 


Avoid using natural or artificial pesticides in your garden when you release beneficial insects in your garden. The use of pesticides may kill them. 

9. Peppermint oil 

Peppermint oil spray for potato bugs

Peppermint oil is used as an insect repellent in the home and garden. The strong smell of peppermint can repel various insects including potato bugs.

You can easily make a peppermint spray at home using peppermint oil to get rid of potato bugs in your garden. 

Required Items

Step by Step Process

  • In a spray can add 1 gallon of water, 1/4th cup of peppermint oil, and a teaspoon of dish soap. Mix everything together thoroughly before spraying it. 
  • Spray the mixture directly on the affected plants. Make sure to spray it on the underside of the plants, since a lot of bugs often hide there. 
  • The bugs should be gone within an hour or so. 
  • You can re-apply the spray again after a week if needed. 


Peppermint oil does not kill potato bugs, it can only repel them. Therefore, you should always use it along with other preventative methods. 

10. Pyrethrin

Pyrethrin as potato bug repellent

Pyrethrin is a natural pesticide made from the Chrysanthemum plants. When the pyrethrin comes in contact with potato bugs, it excites their nerves and eventually kills them.

It is highly toxic, so pyrethrin should always be used in moderation, but it is extremely effective against potato bugs. You can easily make a pyrethrin spray at home using pyrethrin concentrate. 

Required Items

Step by Step Process

  • In a spray can add 1 gallon of water with 3 tablespoons of pyrethrin concentrate. Mix everything together before using it in your garden. 
  • Spray the mixture directly on the bugs and around the plants. The bugs that come in contact with the spray will die within a few hours. 
  • Repeat the spraying process again after a week if required. 


Pyrethrin kills any insect that it comes in contact with. So you should avoid using this spray during the daytime. 

Natural Ways to Prevent and Control Potato Bugs 

1. Apply mulch 

Potato bugs usually overwinter in the soil as adults and emerge again during the spring. So, one of the best ways to prevent them during the next season is by applying mulch around your potato plants.

Cedar mulch is one of the best materials for preventing potato bugs because it has a strong smell that naturally repels many insects. You should spread mulch around your potato plants as soon as they reach a few inches in height. 

2. Companion plants 

Companion planting is a great way to prevent potato bugs in your garden. This method involves planting different filler plants along with your potato plants to repel the potato bugs.

One of the best companion plants for potato plants is beans. Make sure to plant short bean plants, so they don’t overtake your potato plants. Other common companion plants are peppermint, catnip, and peppers. 

3. Use row covers 

Row covers are a great way to prevent potato bugs in young plants. You can use row covers to protect plants until they start flowering. When you use row covers, the potato bugs cannot climb onto the plants, so they cannot lay eggs or damage the foliage. 

4. Keep chickens

If you keep chickens in your yard, they can control the potato bug population in your garden. If you release your chickens in the garden, they will eat any adult or larvae potato bugs they find.

Do not release the chickens when the plants are still young, otherwise, they may accidentally damage the saplings. 

5. Use crop rotation 

Crop rotation is the practice of planting different crops in the same area after one crop is harvested. This method helps prevent a number of pests including potato bugs.

When you rotate your crops, the potato bugs will eventually die out, so they won’t attack your plants the next season. 

Final Words:

Potato bugs are one of the most destructive pests in America and Europe because they can easily kill a plant within no time. They are also known for their ability to become resistant to certain pesticides, which makes it quite difficult to eradicate them.

Therefore, it is always better to use natural methods to get rid of this pest from your vegetable garden. If you use the natural methods mentioned in this article, you will surely see success in eliminating these pesky bugs.