Japanese Beetle Invasion

As much as a gardener hopes the insects won’t invade each year, they still arrive like clockwork. We know insects are part of the food chain, a needed part of the food chain. However, that doesn’t help when you see them swarming all over the plants in your garden.

For me, I wonder why they just couldn’t have gone a few hundred feet to the weeds in the back part of our neighborhood. Or why not a few hundred feet in the other direction to the stand of trees and wild flowers. Oh no, they land on my beautiful growth of green beans. The marigolds (which actually means the marigolds are doing what they should). The roses that are starting to bloom again. That is where they decide to land.

On our neighborhood social media app, someone sounded the alarm the Japanese Beetles had landed. I hadn’t seen any yet in my gardens. With optimism, I hoped they wouldn’t make it to the south side of the neighborhood. Quickly I found out no one was immune from their presence. On my next inspection of the garden to pull weeds, what did I see? Dozens of beetles having a buffet on my healthy plants.

I went inside to get my natural and environmental friendly pesticide. A bowl was grabbed. A dab of dish soap put into the bowl. Hot water added to create some suds. Then I went back outside to knock some beetles into my concoction.

Trying to get the beetles into the water can be a bit like whack-a-mole. They have very strong legs and feet that attach to leaves and stems quite well. Shaking the plant leaf can be enough. Usually though, I had to push the beetle into the water. While doing that step, I think they used some sort of signal stating me being within their personal space isn’t a good thing. For every beetle that goes in the water, another couple fly off. I did make a nice dent in their numbers, but I’m sure those that flew off just buzzed around waiting for me to walk away.

This process has been going on for a couple of days. One day must have been on the beetle mating calendar because that is how I found so many. Unfortunately for them, this meant I could get two beetles at a time into the water. I kind of rained on their little parade of pleasure.

Even being diligent in checking a couple of times a day didn’t prevent damage. Since I have to work, and they have all day to do their thing, they did make a mark on the leaves and flowers, especially my roses. They have eaten the petals right down to the stem in many cases. Thank goodness I have noticed the number of beetles is dwindling. Another thank goodness is they were very limited in the plants they attacked. Just the beans, marigolds and roses were affected. They did some damage, but not so much the harvest won’t happen and the flowers are still blooming.

How do you manage a Japanese Beetle invasion? Always open to environmental and pet friendly ideas.

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