Saturday, July 23, 2005

I Hate Japanese Beetles

Popillia japonica Newman. The current bete noire here in Eden. For some reason this year has produced a bumper crop of Japanese beetles. Considering the number of moles we had last Autumn, this is surprising. I'd have thought they would've been dinner for lots of mole families back then.

They warn you that hanging beetle traps attracts them from other yards. But since the nearest "yard" is quite far away, I'd say most of these are ours -- attracted by the grape vines and apple trees. Thus, I hang the traps in likely spots, though I don't think I have nearly enough of them. I have snared at least 10 bags worth this year and we're not yet done with the season.

Evidently, Japanese beetles showed up in the US in 1908. Here's a map of the inroads they've made.As you can see, they haven't moved all that far given that they've been here a century. According to information from Ohio State University, they can be somewhat controlled by "the spring Tiphia." In case you're wondering (I was) Tiphia is not a plant, it's a wasp. I will spare you the gruesome details other than to say the business is taken care of out of sight and underground. Or, another way to state it: God works in mysterious ways his wonders to perform.

Meanwhile, here is more than you may want to know about getting rid of them and a larger version of the map above.

Now I must return to patrolling the perimeters, armed with my Neem spray. It says on the bottle that it works on beetles, but I'm not so sure about this kind. They seem to be slurping it.


At 10:53 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

The spring Tiphia does an excellent job of controlling the beetles. God's way!

I hate what Japanese beetles do to my plants; my one rose bush seems to attract them by the hordes. Even worse, for me personally, is when one gets stuck on my clothing or in my hair. Ick!

At 11:36 PM, Blogger Dymphna said...

The beetles are bringing out my atavistic side: I stand around plucking them off the grape vines and sending them to their death with their fellows; don't trust them to find their way to the traps themselves.

For some reason, they've left my roses to the white flies, aphids, black spot and mildew...not much left of one apple tree, though. One trick I have, though: when the beetles fill a bag, I tie a knot in it and leave it in the rose bed. The smell of their dead fellows is supposed to repel them; I think it does.

Supposedly they favor sassafrass and so I hung some lures there, but not much luck. As for their yucky feel, I put on rubber gloves!

One question: how does one go about inviting Thipia to visit? I rather like wasps anyway, they tend to chase other buggies away and are usually benign. I don't count yellow jackets in with them, however.


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