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 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!


PonderandStitch said...

I know, aren't they just awful right now?!! My whole front yard is infested and all the plants have been eaten to their skeletons.

MamaFlo said...

Great photos of them though. Will the plants come back to life or does the beetle in addition to defoliating it, also kills it? The state agricultural extension office doesn't have any answers?

Anny said...

This is very scary looking... i have goose bumps just looking at them...

WillOaks Studio said...

Most trees, shrubs and perennials that these beetles favor will survive to grow again next Spring...but will look quite awful for the remainder of the summer with little to no regrowth.

BeadedTail said...

I saw the destruction of these beetles on another blog too. I've never seen those beetles but they sure leave behind devastation to flowers. What a shame.

Ann said...

I thought I had a lot of those guys in my pool but seeing how many you have makes my problem look like nothing.

RE Ausetkmt said...

wow ! they look like trouble indeed.
so does the county extention service have any solutions to offer you ?

well I have to say I have so enjoyed looking at the garden. I hope you find a solution to having to hand dunk them. there needs to be an answer to this. how about Birds or Bats ? thought about enticing something that might eat the critters ?

RE Ausetkmt said...

just a thought..
get one of those plasticizing kits and drop them in.
they might be nice mounted in rings, and as earrings, pendants, and even as a nice center piece stone.

think of the amber and bugs approach.
now get out there and harvest that new item for your shop, you crafty diva.

call it money from heaven.

smiles to you ;)


Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor said...

I hate them! They ate my zinnias, zebra mallow & roses. They're not as bad as last year though. I thought about getting milky spore for the lawn I think it kills their larva??

Ratty said...

That is a lot of beetles! I can see where they would be a problem, just by looking at your pictures. Hopefully somebody is developing something to get rid of these things right now.

Sandy said...

I sure relate; but here they eat everything...I do mean everything. The Rose of Sharon, The Mallows, The lilies, the ornamental grasses, the petunias in pots on the deck even. The even eat the hostas. They've been progressively worse each year for the last 3 or 4 years. I gave up the soap water and bucket, just didn't get the job done. Soap spray with hose works well to kill those currently on the plants, but must be repeatly daily to make any headway. The grass needs to be treated, to kill the larvae of the beetle which is the grub which is also destructable as it kills your grass. There is nothing redeamable about these pests. Though I use chemicals for nothing else...I have a new motto with regard to these beetles and grubs...Let the killing begin.

I blogged about it too, a short while ago.

You almost need to remove the leaf they were on when you know them off into the bucket. They leave behind a residue which is what attracts more of their kind.


Sandy said...

I have fewer mallows this year, they ate so much last year some of the plants didn't make another season.



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