Monday, July 18, 2016

Update on My Japanese Beetle Trap Hack

In THIS post last Thursday, I showed you that a raccoon was using the collection bags on my Japanese Beetle traps as a convenient source of snacks ... ruining the bags in the process.  I reworked the traps by replacing the plastic bag with a half-gallon milk jug.  

Is this new container catching beetles?

Mugging for the camera, as I was out with my trash bag to empty the beetle jugs.

Yes, it is ... just as well as the bag did, I think.  After two days in place, and each of my three traps was half full of beetles.  

What about the raccoon?

The game camera captured one raccoon photo last night, an action shot.  The little guy looks frustrated to me.  I see no damage to the trap ... so far.

Beetle season is definitely waning, as I'm finding fewer and fewer of them during my morning trips through the garden to hunt them out and drop them into my bucket of soapy water.  

I can't wait till they're gone.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Who's Tearing Up the Beetle Trap Bags?

When everything goes according to plan, Japanese Beetle trap bags look like this.  The scent/sex attractant lure draws the nasty critters toward the trap, and they fall into the bag ... by the thousands.

On numerous mornings over the last two weeks, I found the bags looking like this:

Something bit holes into the bottom of the bags, and the beetles were going in the top and out the bottom.  Solving this mystery involved my Bushnell trail camera, and some patience.  

July 5, 2016

July 5, 2016

July 9, 2016

July 9, 2016

July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016

What to do?  I needed to come up with some other way to contain the beetles, because Rocky Raccoon was destroying bags almost as quickly as I could replace them.  What could I use instead of these plastic bags?  

Brainstorm ...

... a half-gallon milk jug with the top portion of the plastic beetle bag secured to it.  I tried this on one trap last week and it worked really well.  Now I have milk jug modifications on all three of my traps.  Rocky Raccoon should have a much more difficult time biting a hole in these.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Gardener, All Dressed For Work.

My husband and I have been working on the Rose Field, to free it from the neglect and overgrowth of the past four years.  With the roses in a large section of this garden located and moved elsewhere, I set my husband loose to mow with his DR walk-behind bush hog.

Our next door neighbor saw all the commotion and came over to get a closer look ... "I have to get a picture of this," he said.  "Go stand over there."

Just for fun, here is a video of my husband and his bush hog cutting a few passes of brush.  It's a very powerful machine that makes quick work of saplings and brambles ... and I think that the operator is pretty awesome!

We have about one-fourth of this garden cleared.  For now, we will  keep it mowed so it doesn't grow up and get out of hand again. I hope to eventually redesign it and turn it back into a rose garden, and I am doing my best to be satisfied with what seems like small accomplishments and baby steps ... as we work our way through this huge garden whenever time allows and weather is favorable.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Before, During, and After

When I was out in the garden early yesterday morning on my daily mission to drown Japanese Beetles in a bucket of soapy water, I spotted this beautiful bud on "Fredericksburg Cemetery Tea".  (I grew this plant from a cutting taken from a large Tea rose in a cemetery in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia.  It resembles 'Madame Lombard'.)

A couple of hours later, as I was making my twice-monthly rounds with my sprayer full of fungicide, I passed this spot and saw that the bud had opened ... and it was being visited by one of the honey bees from next door at Hartwood Winery.  

Later in the day, I passed this spot again and found this scene.

You wouldn't know it from the concentration of Japanese Beetles on that poor flower, but it seems that I may have fewer beetles this year than I did last year.  There are only certain rose bushes that are getting decimated, while many others are relatively untouched.  It's still pretty awful, and I imagine that it will probably continue to be that way for the rest of July, if prior years are any indication.  

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