It is Japanese beetle time in Tennessee and I can tell you they've hit us like a plague of locusts. Last year was not really all that bad; which was nice but not normal. This year, though I hate to say it, is most normal. We are inundated with Japanese beetles. The roses are skeletons, we can't walk in the garden without experiences a slow large flying beetle trying to get in our hair or face. And let's not forget what most of the beetles are doing in the garden when they are not eating. Or perhaps they eat and mate at the same time?
I have always been a person against beetle traps. I have never ever purchased one for home use. I preferred, because I read it somewhere, to not attract the beetles to my garden with the pheromone baited traps that usually include a big yellow bag. Oh yes, I was smart that I was, until....
I got a Japanese beetle trap sent to me by Rescue, and I tell you it could not have come at a better time and is an EXCELLENT deterrent against the beetles. I was a bit skeptical about it helping out with getting rid of the terrible Japanese beetles but was I ever pleasantly surprised!
The instructions said to set up at least 30 feet from desirable ornamentals. This trap only has a 30 foot reach with its scent attracting pheromones. I decided to put my trap near my perennial border but on the outskirts. Within one hour I saw the amount of Japanese beetles on my Knockout roses decrease by at least 80%. It was a very noticeable difference. Within that same hour the bottom of the large yellow bag (I would prefer a more subtle color but perhaps it is part of the bait and trap plan?) was two inches full with squirming, doomed, Japanese beetles.
Now, back to my original problem with thinking traps attracted Japanese beetles to my yard. No! I do not believe that at all. When the Japanese beetles hit they pretty much blanket the region where they are located. They find suitable food (think Knockout roses, crepe myrtles, 4 O' Clocks, trees in the prunus family, marigolds, night blooming jimsonweed, and butterfly bushes, amongst many others) and they mass themselves on these suitable food sources and devour the foods until there is nothing more to eat. I realized the beetles were already in my yard and not my neighbors because I had all their favorite foods! So, when I put up the trap and it began collecting all those beetles and lessened the amount of beetles on the roses (the roses were still skeletonized but by fewer insects) I couldn't help but to get happy because every single beetle that was trapped was one less beetle that could go on to mate and make more beetles to live to attack another day. I really felt like I was making a dent in the Japanese population and will soon be buying another trap since mine is nearly filled up. I suspect the trap held at least 5000-10,000 beetles and that is a LOT of beetles! I was able to empty my trap and reuse it but the sticky bug juice that comes with dead Japanese beetles was not so pleasant. There really is no way to avoid that mess when emptying the trap. I think a new trap will be in store soon so I don't have to empty the trap again. And boy, those those beetles smell terrible.
Right next to one of the decimated Knockout roses there is a cluster of liatris growing. Not one single Japanese beetle bothered with the liatris but the bees sure seemed to like it.
And finally, one new pest control type who came to us one hot evening in May. He is a stray though he most likely belonged to one of my neighbors; who don't seem to do well with pets at all. In the two years they have lived next door two of their dogs have passed and they have gone through at least a dozen dogs and cats! But that is another story. This cat will be taken care of and will not procreate more unwanted animals in the world.
This boy is also Mr. Personality himself and is sweet sweet sweet! We adore him. Orkin kitty is having to adjust but adjust she will as this fella will not be swayed from his new, safe, secure home in Tiger Gardens. We have already had him neutered, treated for ticks, and vaccinated. He gets along so very well with the dogs but we are working on getting the big dogs to get along well with him. For some reason Smokey has no claws though. We do hope they grow back but he doesn't seem to have trouble getting around as need be. He can jump and climb with the best of them. And he surely sometimes needs to do so when the hose accidentally sprays him. He is a good hunter and is helping Orkin keep down the rodents and lizards....
in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden