Thursday, July 07, 2005

Japanese beetle attack!

I've been battling Japanese beetles everyday for the past week. They are attacking our Yoshino and Kwanzan cherry trees with a vengeance. One Yoshino cherry dropped a lot of its top leaves and hasn't attracted many beetles since. Did the tree make itself somehow less attractive? It still has a lot of leaves until about 3/4 of the way to the top. The other one that didn't drop any leaves still attracts oodles of beetles.

Since I'm trying to limit my use of pesticides I'm using the old squash 'em technique using your fingers or step and drag method if they've fallen to the ground. Trouble is these supposedly dumb critters have their own evasive technique, the "bailout". As soon as you try to grab 'em they fall a short way and take off flying so I miss many if I try to use the squash 'em method. I've resorted to using a sprayer with water and a surfactant-fancy name for soap/detergent. If I make the solution strong enough about a full tablespoon in a quart of water, it seems to kill or at least stun the buggers and they just sit there not doing much. I think this works because they drown. The surfactant allows the water to wet the beetle's abdomen and work its way into the breathing spicules so they drown even if not immersed in water. I found this remedy because I used it on ants and they died instantly. The spray lets me get to the beetles high in the golden rain tree flowers which they favor, even more than the cherries.

And gosh are they randy. Twosomes, threesomes and more-an orgy.

I was walking in our neighborhood park and noticed that the tops of linden trees and sassafras were almost denuded. This has been an especially bad year for jb infestation. I've never seen it quite this bad. Well they seem to be on the wane now and hopefully will be only a bad memory in a week or two.

Someone mentioned using milky spore to good effect. Said they hardly had any beetles at all. Apparently you apply it early in spring and it affects the larvae. They don't pupate. I may try it next year. But what about those that fly in from neigboring untreated yards?

One year I tried using a trap. Never again! We must have attracted every beetle within the whole township. What a mistake. The beetles were swarming all over the bushes where the trap was hanging and only a small fraction actually made it into the trap. We caught maybe 20 beetles the whole time the darned thing was hanging. Later, I heard that you should hang the trap as far away from your yard as possible preferably in some mean neighbor's yard-just kidding. They should change the name from trap to attractant. How about some truth in advertising.


Blogger Sharon GR said...

Try the Milky Spore. I use it, and it does work, very well. If you use it now you will have far fewer bettles next year.

For beetles you can reach, I get them in a jar. I put the jar under the leaf and when they pull that "bailout" trick, I quickly close the jar, shake it to stun them a little, then move on to the next cluster of bettles. Leave the jar in the sun for a few hours: no more bettle. So what if it's cruel-I just planted that raspberry bush this year, durnit.

11:18 AM  
Blogger Suzette said...

I don't think that's cruel. I once sealed a mouse in a Tupperware Burp'n Bowl until: no more mouse. It's us against them, I say.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Suzette said...

I don't think that's cruel. I once sealed a mouse in a Tupperware Burp'n Bowl until: no more mouse. It's us against them, I say.

6:08 PM  
Blogger Ki said...

I heard that milky spore kills other beneficial insect larvae too so I'm not very keen on using it. Don't beetles from other from your neighbors' untreated yard get on your plants anyway?

Thanks for the jam jar and Tupperware tip. Someone suggested adding soapy water to quickly dispatch the little devils though you won't be able to maneuver the jar as easily without slopping the liquid all over yourself.

5:10 AM  
Anonymous Judith said...

It seems the month of July has been declared Attack of the Japanese Beetles--you are not alone, I am hand picking them by the minute when I am out in the garden. I have tried Milky Spore--no luck for me. I nearly pulled the hand held vacuum out the other day...

9:36 AM  
Blogger Ki said...

They are terrible this year. I thought they were on the wane as I write this 7/20 but they just seem to be on different plants. Found a oodles on the crepe myrtle and plum trees. Previously they attacked the japanese cherry trees and golden rain tree flowers but not now. Like a moveable feast.

I love the vacuum idea! We have a "Rainbow" vac with a water dust catcher. I could just fill it with soapy water and if I would find a long enough wand, voila!! The suction may be a little hard on the tender leaves the j.beetles seem to prefer tho.

6:41 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

barb---I bought that Japanese beetle trap because they were killing one of my bushes----It's only been a couple of days and now I have attacted so many bugs that they are now eating my other bushes that they supposedly don't husband looked online and found that these are bad unless everyone in the neighborhood have them--I'm taking my down tonite and would tell everyone out there---save your money don't buy the bag a bug---and just hand pick 'em if you can and drown them in soapy water---good luck it's crazy out there with these guys---

6:26 PM  
Anonymous tamara said...

milky spore does not have a long shelf life,in the store,thats if you can find it.try gardens alive organic garden catalogue.Please dont resort to the bag you will regret it!!!took me years to recover,this year i have so few j.beetles ,i can count them .

5:46 AM  
Anonymous tamara said...

great info. on j. beetles.go to. then click on yard&garden,then click insects&pests,scroll down to insects&related pests,click control of j.beetles.really great info.on those darn varmits

6:38 AM  

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