Facts about Potato Bugs
A Jerusalem cricket is brown in color with black stripes on the back and whitish-colored belly. At maturity, it grows to about 3 inches long. The thick legs of potato bug help in burrowing the soil for hunting food and hiding purpose.
The adult Colorado beetles span from 6-11mm in length and 3 mm in width. The beetles are either bright orange or yellow in color with 10 dark stripes on its elytra.
Taxonomy and Classification
As per entomological taxonomy, the Jerusalem crickets belong to the family Stenopelmatidae of the order Orthoptera (having incomplete metamorphosis), the pill bugs belong to the family Armadillidiidae of the order Isopoda and the Colarado beetles belong to the family Chrysomelidae of the order Coleoptera.
The Jerusalem crickets are grouped under the genus name Stenopelmatus, the pill bugs or roly-poly are grouped under the genus name Armadillidium and the Colorado beetles are grouped under the genus name Leptinotarsa.
Similar to true crickets, the metamorphosis of the Jerusalem cricket is not complete. Egg is the first stage in its life cycle. In the fall, several oval-shaped eggs are laid in the soil by the female adult. An egg hatches into a nymph only at the arrival of favorable environmental conditions, preferably in spring. The nymph stage continues for more than 2 years, after which the bug emerges as an adult.
The female Colorado beetle lays its eggs on the host plant away from direct sunlight. The eggs hatch depending on the favourable temperature and humidity. The larval stage lasts for a period of 21 days. The larvae continues to feed on the host plant until it drops to the soil to pupate.
The Jerusalem cricket is nocturnal in habit and remains active only at nighttime. Primary diet of this insect is dead organic matter, including decaying vegetative matter and plant parts. The extra long mandibles serve as an adaptation for devouring on organic matter. However, at times of food scarcity, it feeds on other insects.
The diet of Pill bugs include fruits, vegetables, weed, plants and grasses. They feed on potatoes, carrots, apples fish flakes and lettuces.
The Colorado beetle loves to eat potato plants. They feed on the leaves and are the main reason for destroying the potato farms. They also feed on tomato and eggplants.
Infestation by potato bugs is common in flower and vegetable gardens, where there is plenty of decaying plant roots and organic material. You can find them in moist soil or under thick vegetation. Very often, they hide in burrows and holes. To be more precise, infestation of potato bugs occur in areas where there is an ample amount of food source. Hence, it is rarely visible in and around the house.