Is it possible a tiny insect from Colorado was used as a weapon during the cold war?

All's Fair In Love and War

It's hard to imagine a small insect, smaller than a quarter, could pose any kind of a threat compared to bombs, tanks, and heavy artillery. They say all is fair in love and war - and so anything goes and anything is possible.

If you are going to use insects in war, apparently the insect of choice is the Colorado Potato Beetle. The tiny bug can be devastating to potato crops - and the consequences of a beetle infestation could be dire.

The War Against Potato Beetles

During the Cold War, there was a campaign by countries in the Warsaw Pact to get rid of Colorado Potato Beetles. They also accused the United States of engaging in entomological warfare, saying it introduced the insect into East Germany, Poland, and Communist Czechoslovakia

According to BBC, it was in 1950 when a German farmer noticed a couple of American airplanes flying over his fields. The next day he reportedly discovered his fields were covered with Colorado Potato Beetles. There were numerous other reports of planes flying overhead, followed by an onslaught of beetles.

Mix 104.3 logo
Get our free mobile app

Discovered In the Rocky Mountains

You have most likely seen the Colorado Potato Beetle. The beetle is about 3/8 of an inch long with a yellow or orange body with brown stripes. It was first observed in 1811 and formally described in 1824 by an entomologist named Thomas Nuttall. They were found in the Rocky Mountains feeding on buffalobur. Turns out these bugs love potatoes.

In 1859 it was discovered the beetles were destroying Nebraska potato crops and moving eastward. Within 15 years, they had reached the Atlantic Coast and the word was out - the Colorado Potato Beetles were a force to be reckoned with.

Was A Colorado Insect Used As A Secret Weapon During the Cold War?

The Colorado Potato Beetle was first discovered in Colorado in the 1800s. It was soon discovered these colorful bugs loved potato plants - and that was bad news for potatoes. Within a few years, they had made their way to the Atlantic Coast which resulted in American potato imports being banned by several countries. Did the United States have a secret weapon they could use against their enemies?

How 20 Different Musicians Reacted to 9/11



More From Mix 104.3