Tuesday, July 16, 2013

***Tuesday's Tip*** or The Beetle Battle

Ahhh...the Japanese Beetle...it is really quite a beautiful creature.  A fine example of a scarab beetle.  I love insects as a rule, I find them fascinating.  Every year I see an insect that I have never seen before.  But, I must admit I would like to see a "few" fewer of these beetle buggers.  If it wasn't for this.....

....I could love these little critters.  So what is an organic gardener to do?  I try to take the path of co-creation whenever I can.  Gardening for me isn't about me vs. "them".  But the Japanese Beetle does feel like a battle at times.  The season has just begun so I haven't started seeing them in my dreams yet!  This year is not as bad as some.  As a matter of fact, the beetles seem to be declining since they first appeared here about 6 years ago.  One factor maybe the rise of the Tachinid Fly, the natural predator of the Japanese beetle.  See those little white dots on the thorax of the beetle...those are fly eggs.  I have never seen so many eggs in past years!  YEAH!

So what do I do?  I collect beetles...but this isn't your high school insect collection!

Each morning before the sun gets really shining I take my coffee outside and a gallon bucket with a couple of inches of water.  The beetles are solar powered, impossible to catch in the heat of the day.  They are groggy in the morning and slip into my bucket easily.  I do try to liberate the white dot beetles...but I give them a toss away from my plants so they have to fly back for breakfast.

I use plain water...NO SOAP...you'll see why in a minute....

When I have collected as many as I can find I take my bucket to my Tanglefoot Beetle Trap. (see Amazon link on the sidebar)

Now there is a lot of advice against the use of a beetle trap.  I think that may be wise in a town or suburban neighborhood because then you may be just attracting your neighbor's beetles.  But I am pretty isolated and I only put out the trap (or traps) once the beetles have arrived.  I have been using the Tanglefoot Trap for 5 years.  They have held up very well and they have a reusable can vs. plastic bags.  So meanwhile, back to my beetle report...

I dump my beetles into the trap.  Last night I have switched cans putting the full one in the freezer.


Dump the beetle~sicles on the ground and.........


My girls come running when they hear me banging the frozen beetle can...a great treat on a hot day...if you are a duck!

Organic Gardening is the only way I would grow.  You win some, you lose some.  I always say, "I don't gamble, I garden."  I actually feel for the beetles and their need to live and flourish.  So I take my loses in stride and plant lots of what I want so I can "survive" "sharing"!

So a poem...of course!

Japanese Beetles

Shimmering, crawling, rolling in flight,
They eat up my rose bushes by day and by night.
I scarcely could count to number them all,
An insatiable appetite from a beetle so small.

Like the locust they arrive never making a sound,
Emerging from hideaways deep in the ground.
Unerring, uncanny they hone in and find,
My lovely rose bushes leaving dead stems behind.


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