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- April 17, 2008 at 10:23 pm #27659
Welcome to A Way to Garden.
You have touched on a topic that unravels all of us in the northern range of Japanese Beetle Territory from about July 4 onward, earlier in the South.
Beetle bags are not the answer, and will attract more I think, which the University of Kentucky has proven with studies far more scientific than my long-ago home-garden observations. I am a proponent of reducing grubs (the larval stage of the beetle) in your soil and under your turf, using either nematodes or the bacterial control called Milky Spore or both, to build up populations of natural agents that kill the grubs. I had a good experience with the nematodes, though they are not cheap (neither is the Milky Spore). You can learn more about both or order on the Gardens Alive website (in my sources on the blog).
While you wait for the good guys you’re inoculating your soil with (nematodes or Milky Spore bacterium) to catch up with and reduce the population of grubs, you have to tackle the adult beetles yourself. This may seem hopeless, but it’s not: Scientists reveal that the fewer beetles we allow to build up per plant, the fewer additional beetles will show up to that plant. Apparently beetles are like lemmings!
Here’s what the University of Kentucky says at http://www.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef409.asp:
"Hand collecting can be used to protect valuable plants when beetle activity is relatively low. The presence of beetles on a plant attracts more beetles. When you remove beetles daily by hand from a plant, only about half as many are attracted to that plant compared to those on which beetles are allowed to accumulate. One of the easiest ways to remove beetles from small plants is to shake the plants early in the morning (about 7 a.m.) when temperatures are low and the beetles sluggish. The beetles may be killed by shaking them into a bucket of soapy water."
That’s the deal: Get them early, and often.
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