Thursday, July 9, 2015

It's a Trap!

I changed this bag on the Japanese Beetle trap yesterday morning ... this represents the volume of beetles that were trapped in this spot in the last 24-hours.




I had trouble finding traps earlier in the season (I saw this season's first beetle on June 7).  When I did find them, I didn't put them out right away.  I had been keeping beetles pretty well under control with my morning routine of picking and drowning them in a bucket of soapy water, or so I thought.  Over the weekend, I realized that 'American Pillar' (my rose that grows up into the cedar tree) was covered with beetles and a majority of its leaves were eaten into lace.  Picking these off would be impossible, I refuse to apply any sort of insecticide in the garden, and leaving them alone wasn't an option that I was comfortable with.

On Monday, I placed this trap about 50 feet upwind of 'American Pillar' ... figuring that I could lure the beetles from the rose to the trap that way ... and it seems to have worked!  'American Pillar' has almost no beetles on it, and this is the second bag that has filled in the last three days (the first one was full to the rim before I noticed it).  

Many people will say that traps like this lure more beetles to the garden than would have found it otherwise.  Properly placed, this hasn't proven to be the case for me this year or in the past.  I figure it this way ... beetles I trap (or drown) are beetles that are removed from the breeding pool.  I may not be making a huge dent in overall beetle population, but at least I'm doing something ... and I'm not poisoning my garden in the process.


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Edited to add:  As soon as I finished this post and hit 'publish', I went down to the garage to get a replacement bag for this beetle trap, only to discover that I was out of them.  Since I had to leave home and go to town for replacement bags, I decided that I might as well take my shopping list with  me and combine trips.  Left home at about 11:30, returned just before 3:00.  By that time, the existing bag on the trap was full to the point of overflowing.




To deal with it, I had to carefully put a trash bag around the trap, shake the overflowing beetles to the bottom of the trash bag, all the while trying not to gag as I was releasing the trap's bag from the yellow fins that hold it.

A new bag is installed on this trap, and I placed a second trap nearby to catch even more of the little devils.  

Catching and disposing of so many beetles like this in such a short time is strangely, sadistically satisfying.

19 comments:

  1. I think this is a great idea that obviously works! I wonder what is used to attract them? Hugs! deb

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    1. The disk you see on the yellow fins on top of the trap is a very potent pheromone lure.

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  2. That bag is making me scratch just thinking about the bugs in there.
    Looks like it's doing the job though!
    :)
    xo

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    1. Japanese Beetles totally make me want to gag.

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  3. I thought I had those devils under control with my coffee can buckets as well. But then over the weekend their population exploded like something out of horror movie. The Raspberry bush is totally decimated and my youngest apple tree has nothing but skeletal brown leaves on it. The mature apple has been ravaged as well. UGH!

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    1. Sorry to hear that you’re sharing in the misery. I was astounded at how many beetles appeared over the past few days. Perhaps this is like the finale of a fireworks show, and they will disappear just as quickly as they appeared.

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  4. My goodness never seen this before, and you caught two bags full of beetles. I think I don't know the Japanese beetle and I definitely don't want to know them. That's far worse than 5 bunnies playing in my garden, at least they don't touch my roses.

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    1. Japanese Beetles were introduced to this country in the early 20th Century. They have no real natural enemies here, and they are a plague in our part of the US in the summer. Some years are worse than others. This year is really, really bad.

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  5. Wow! You go girl...kill those beetles!! Nasty bugs!

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    1. It’s become a crusade for me. I may not win the Beetle War, but I will certainly do what I can to take out as many of their soldiers as possible … without killing other things in the process.

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  6. Connie, as you know, the beetles reached here several years ago and I had previously seen small numbers. I haven't seen any beetles on the roses this year nor have I seen any damage from them. I put a trap out about 3 weeks ago however, and there are a dozen beetles in the traps. I'm pretty sure they're responsible for keeping the breeding pairs hunting for mates here!

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    1. My neighbor and I have decided that a major factor in the population of beetles each year is spring rainfall. If we get rain, and the ground is soft, the beetles have little difficulty emerging from the ground after they pupate. Dry spring bakes the ground to the consistency of a brick, and the beetles can’t get out.

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  7. HOLY COW... THAT'S A LOT OF BEETLES!!! DISGUSTING! Good job, Connie!

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    1. If I look on the bright side, beetle hunting gets me out and into the fresh air to start my day. It’s a totally nasty job, though. I really, REALLY hope that their population peaks soon.

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  8. What on earth do you do with the beetles after you have trapped them in the bags? Looking at that overflowing bag gives me the heebie jeebies.

    I'm glad you don't use chemicals.

    FlowerLady

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    1. Doesn't matter how many heebie jeebies I get over this ... it's my garden and it's my job to dispose of the beetles once I trap them.

      I do the best I can to seal the bags of beetles, then I throw them in the trash. This overflowing bag went into a kitchen-sized trash bag, and I tied it shut. The bag on the trap in the front yard was full to just a bit above the narrow point of the bag ... I closed that one with a twist tie.

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  9. Oh, how I feel your pain. We have used those traps in the years when they are so bad that it appears our trees are made of Battenberg lace. Emptying them is one of the nastiest things we have had to do. ugh. When my mom passed 11 years ago, I bought a flowering cherry tree. I love their dark red leaves and pretty flowers in the Spring. Two years ago we had the worst infestation ever. Last year the tree lost a couple of limbs, but did bloom and leaf out. This year it was completely dead. Not a single leaf. I was so sad. The nursery people said the beetles can do that if they do, indeed, decimate the tree as they did 2 years ago. It takes a couple of years to feel their true wrath. Hate hate those things.

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    1. Chris, I'm really sorry about your cherry tree. I am always amazed at the concentration of Japanese Beetles some years, since they don't have any natural enemies in the US. One would think that some predator would figure out that there was a smorgasbord at this time of year and adapt to take advantage of it. Not the case. I wonder if they taste bad? Saw an Assassin Bug with a JB yesterday ... not gonna make a dent, but it was satisfying to see.

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  10. OMG...haven't had that many, but I also have lacey plants...groan. I think we might be on the decline.

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