We are being attacked. When the weather gets hot, Japanese Beetles come out and eat roses, hollyhocks, buckthorn, linden trees, and grape leaves. The poor roses hardly have a chance. The new flowers are ragged by noon. All that is left on some of the grape leaves are the veins. The hollyhocks lose their flowers as well.
It’s war! They are relatively new arrivals here in our neighborhood. They showed up last year and this year they are all over our plants. The evil little beetles come out and eat during the hot weather, lay their eggs in the lawn, the grubs hatch and eat the grass roots. Next spring, the grubs become beetles, and the horrible thing starts all over again.
When they hit the peach and vineyard area around Palisade, the chemicals came out and the infestation was stopped. They don’t talk about the harm done to beneficial insects. We try to be organic, so the poisons are out.
The first tactic we adopted is to go out with a small pitcher with some dish soap laden water, find the bugs, and flick the bugs into the water with a table knife. It goes on all day. The grape arbor is high, and I am banned from going up more than two steps on the ladder, so some escape. I am not big on killing living beings, but here is an exception.
They are fairly round with an iridescent shell. Ugly little beasts. At the end of the day we have dozens floating in the water. With a lot of research, mostly on University Extension Service websites, we discovered neem oil with a tiny amount of azadirachtin kills and repels the little beasts.
As the grubs get active in the turf, we are going to introduce some nematodes that attack the grubs. With luck, we won’t have those dead spots in the lawn. The nematodes stay around, so one time for them.
On my bug hunt one morning, I didn’t find one beetle. The fortified neem oil is working. After a couple of days they are back and it’s back to work. The neighbors won’t be killing the grubs, so we will have an annual battle.
If you have Japanese Beetles, neem oil with azadirachtin works. Straight neem oil works on lots of harmful insects, but not without some azadirachtin for our little buddies. If you need neem oil and don’t have Japanese Beetles, we have a couple of bottles we will give you. Good hunting!