Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Onslaught of the Japanese Beetles

My garden is under invasion by the beetles. And not the ones from Liverpool! (How can you resist a little Beatles wordplay?) Have they reached you yet? If not, consider yourself lucky but they are on the way. If you're like me, you've been battling these annoying pests the entire summer.

I guess I'm lucky that it took this long for the Japanese Beetles to reach my corner of Minnesota. Friends in other parts of the Twin Cities are well into their second summer of ridding their gardens of these pesky Japanese Beetles.

They do look kind of cool though. Iridescent almost. But that's all that is remotely likable about these pests that have taken up residence in my yard, gardens, and window boxes. I first noticed them devouring my patch of mint in the herb garden in June. Then eating the petunias on my deck. From there they jumped over to the plum tree and began devouring it. The tree was literally crawling with Japanese Beetles.

What to do? When these beetles are not chowing down on my plants and trees they are mating. Sometimes doing double-duty and mating while gorging themselves on my flowers. At night they lay their eggs on my lawn, waiting to come to life in the spring for another feast on my gardens.

Those bright yellow plastic Japanese Beetle bait bags really don't work all that well. If you want every Japanese Beetle within a mile radius in your yard, hang those bags in your trees. I'm now on my fourth bottle of Ortho Elementals insect spray, but all this really does is knock the bugs off for a day. Then they started in on my hollyhock hibiscus plants that I was finally able to find and grow in a Minnesota climate. In desperation I doused the plant in an organic Fungicide. It worked better than anything else, keeping them off of the hibiscus plant for nearly a week and entirely off of the mint.

But what about my poor plum tree? Sevin Ready to Use Bug Killer. It even has a drawing of that horrible Japanese beetle on the bottle. After spraying down the entire plum tree, I'm pleased to say that it worked remarkably well. Not one Japanese beetle eating up the leaves and plums. They probably have taken flight and taken up residence in a neighbor's plum tree. As for all of those beetle eggs buried in the grass . . . nothing a few bags of Grub Control won't fix. (I'm starting to sound like a farmer or something. Scary!)

Given all of the time and money I've invested in my flowers, I take great pleasure in eliminating these Japanese beetles from my yard. So much that my neighbors now think nothing of me stopping by their house to chat with a bottle of organic fungicide in hand. Sayounara nasty Japanese beetles.


Marilyn said...

We have the Japanese Beetle here in the Toronto area, also. Canada does not allow the sale nor use of pesticides, so it's not a solution to the problem for us. Our neighbours are using a purchased trap that attracts the insects which then fall into an attached plastic bag. This seems to work.

Christianna said...

I didn't realize that Canada was completely pesticide-free. I know that the US has banned some pesticides that are extremely toxic but my Sevin remains legal. Good luck trapping those beetles!