Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Dreaded Japanese Beetle and How to Get Rid of Them

First off, as bugs go, these are nasty little buggers.  I've lived with them long enough and tolerated their destructive ways, but no more.  I'm packing pheromones and not afraid to use them.

The perpetrator.
 The Japanese beetles was first spotted in New Jersey in 1916 after it was accidentally introduced into the United States from Japan where it is not a major pest.  Here in the US the beetles skelotinize leaves of plants and trees.

The life cycle of the Japanese beetle is such that it is suggested that you treat both for the beetles and the grubs that are in the soil.  Those grubs are nasty looking.  I rarely see grubs when I am digging in the soil but I am sure they are there.

I've decided that I am going to use traps to help with the destruction that the Japanese beetles are doing to my fruit trees and roses.  The use of traps is controversial but I do not want to use chemicals in my yard or around my fruit trees.

While reading some of my favorite blogs, I ran across a post by Hartwood Roses .  She has a fantastic hack for the beetle traps that not only save money on bags but also keeps critters from tearing open the bag of beetles looking for a snack.  Check it out.

There has been some research that shows that traps lure more beetles into your yard than if you didn't have the trap.  My feeling is that I don't care where the beetles come from because my goal is to kill 'all the Japanese beetles'. I could care less if I am luring my neighbors beetles into my yard, as long as I kill them.  I'm sure my neighbor doesn't care because their roses take a hit every year.  I just can't see using chemicals and then eating the fruit from the trees that I treat to kill the beetles.  I may get sick and die from the chemicals but at least I don't have bugs on the leaves of my trees and plants....NO THANK YOU.  I'm going to give these traps a whirl and see how it goes.

The wind was almost unbearable today so I was unable to install the traps on a wire frame out in the yard but I will do that tomorrow.  You are suppose to hang the traps in the open and away from trees and plants.  I did hang them from two of my fruit trees which you are not suppose to do but I wanted to see if the beetles would be interested in the trap.

Were they interested????  Oh my gosh. I laid one trap on the ground while I attached the other one to a limb of the apple tree.  When I looked down there were three beetles on the trap trying to get into the bag.
I hung the second trap and went and got R to check it out.  When we got close to the traps we could see them flying into the bags.  It's amazing.  They fly into the yellow plastic part and drop down into the bag.  The bag kept blowing around and some of the beetles were having difficultly hitting the bag. This will not be a problem once the wind calms down.
There are several companies that make these traps and they are basically the same.  There is a hard plastic frame that the plastic collection bag hangs from, a plastic bag, and a pheromone and attractant disc.  The pheromone lures them in using the possibility of sex as the attractant.  Then there is also the scent of fruit or flower to attract those not interested in a hook up.  The smell is actually quite pleasant and I thought it smelled like a sweet flower and clove mixture.

Tomorrow I will attempt the milk jug hack on the other brand that I purchased.  This is very appealing to me because I do not want to empty a bag or even come close to any kind of contact with these beetles.  The milk jug option means I can remove the jug, cap it, and toss it.
The style that I hung today has a ziploc bag that hangs from the frame.  I think I can use gallon size ziploc bags and a hole punch to replicate the set up.  Rather than emptying the bag, I can just remove it, staple it shut, and  toss it. 
You can buy replacement pheromone/attractant for each brand so that next year you just buy that part and you are ready to go.  I think I will try and buy those at the end of the year when they go on sale.  They are good as long as you do not open the package.  The pheromone/attractant is suppose to last 6-8 weeks once it is opened.

Wish me luck.