Thursday, July 23, 2009
Big Trouble in Paradise
It's a curse. They seem to multiply exponentially every year. The dreaded "Japanese Beetle" has emerged for the 2009 summer season here at WillOaks Farm. They don't attack every kind of plant, but they seem to land everywhere, with a loud "bzzzzzzzzzz" and then fall down the shirt or cling to the hair, giving me a bad case of the heebie jeebies.
They proceed to de-foliate the Basswood (Large Leaf Linden) and the Mountain Ash trees-these trees will be essentially leafless by later next month and most of their leaves will be skeletonized. They love to eat holly hocks and roses. They are just awful.
Although it's a bit like spitting in the wind, I carry a big bowl of soapy water around and just knock them into it...where they drown and breed no more. But I'm doubtful it makes much difference. I can't reach nearly as high up the trees as they eat and breed. They don't attack the agricultural crops (corn this year, soy beans other years) so the farmers here don't use any pesticides on them. And I shun the really toxic poisons because it just goes against my grain.
So we suffer through it and hope that some day, a truly effective organic treatment becomes available that won't kill the bees and other beneficials. I've tried soap, pyola, and pyrethrins....none are especially effective UNLESS the bugs are drown in the stuff..so might as well use Dawn soap and water. These bugs are tough! And no birds or other critters seem to hunt and eat them, they have no predators and are an exotic import that seems to just thrive here in the Midwest, darn it all!