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my.dragons.lady 06-06-2009 03:27 PM

Japanese beetle

A few thoughts: A lot of pests are naturally attracted to diseased or ripe vegetation. Bugs are part of natural biodegradation; a combination clean up/recycling crew. A ripening plant is dying. Diseased or weakened vegetation are first choice among a lot of bugs at any stage of growth during sprouting, budding, blooming, seeding. Healthy plants are usually left alone until they begin to ripen.

GMO seeds and plants are designed for obsolescence. Most are not as hardy as advertised. They are actually more susceptible to certain problems and only grow well when all the products designed for weakened, prone to disease, malnourished plants are used.

So, in addition to what is quoted below, I would check with a local vegetable farmer or gardener who is familiar with common soil needs in your area. They should be able to offer more locally specific advice.

One thing I know you could do if you don't mind is add worms to the soil. They'll keep it naturally fertilized and healthy if you feed them. To do that and unless your garden attracts skunks, rabbits, raccoons or other critters :.), you can add a piece of bread, fruit peels, half an apple or other fruit or any non-toxic paper to the surface soil around the base of the plant. Worms eat almost anything. Sprinkle a thin layer of soil across that. If your plants are in the ground, worms will be drawn to the bread but stay in the dark just beneath the light layer of dirt. They'll churn the soil around the plant roots and leave castings (worm poop) throughout the soil which safely fertilizes the plant and returns minerals that a plant may be missing.

A quicker short term solution could be a bottle of 'worm poop' which can be bought at most garden stores. This works better for pots, which don't always have benefit of worms that a healthy garden does.


Natural Japanese Beetle Control for the Garden

Five easy solutions to control Japanese Beetles in your garden naturally.

By: Tammy Biondi

What's green, shiny and buzzes all over? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is not as amusing as you might think. The answer is Popilla japonica, the Japanese beetle. If you live in the United States and you are reading this during the months of May, June or July, this pest is likely to be hard at work in your organic vegetable garden at this very moment. Japanese beetles can be found happily munching on trees, ornamental plants, lawns and vegetable plants.

Five organic ways to get rid of Japanese beetles
  1. Avoid growing their favorite plants. These include strawberries and eggplants.
  2. If you see them on your plants, pull them off and kill them. As far as Japanese beetles are concerned, the more the merrier; the more you already have, the more you'll get.
  3. Don't use pheromone traps (those plastic bags that get full of beetles while attracting legions more than they catch).
  4. Use biological control agents such as nematodes and milky spore bacteria.
  5. Keep your produce harvested. Overripe and rotting produce attracts beetles.
It is possible to reduce your garden's Japanese beetle population by using organic methods and you don't have to completely eliminate this pest in order to save your plants. The bad news is that Japanese beetles are good fliers and they are glad to move into your garden from up to five miles away if they sense that it's a good place for them to be.

Let's look at what makes your organic garden desirable to them. It's probably one of two things:
  1. They sense (through their ability to detect pheromones) that other Japanese beetles are having a great time feeding on your plants and finding mates. The more beetles you have, the more you are likely to get.
  2. They sense (how is a mystery) that there are damaged, diseased or malnourished plants or rotting fruits and vegetables that will be easy pickings for them.
Now that we know what makes them want to move into your organic garden, we can create a strategy for discouraging them. According to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, 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. Japanese beetles tend to congregate in clusters that can easily be knocked off of your beloved plants into a bucket of soapy water where they will drown. Squishing them is an option for those of us who feel more aggressive towards them.

Removing the beetles will also decrease the amount of damage they do to their host plants. This further decreases the amount of beetles that will migrate to your organic garden. Harvesting your fruits (strawberries, apples, etc.) and vegetables (peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, etc.) before they become overripe or begin to rot will also decrease the number of beetles that you attract to your organic garden.

Strawberries and eggplants are two of the many garden crops that Japanese beetles are attracted to. Covering these and other affected crops with floating row cover will help, but it will also interfere with the pollination of these crops.

In your battle against the Japanese beetle, please refrain from using the popular pheromone traps. These attract many more beetles that they catch, leaving you with more beetles than you started with. If you absolutely can't resist using them, keep the traps well away from your favorite garden plants so as not to lure the beetles right to them.

The shiny adult Japanese beetles are most active for 6 to 8 weeks in early to mid-summer. By the end of their annual reign, they have laid their eggs and the grubs have hatched and have begun feeding. During the winter, these grubs will burrow into the soil and await next summer's bounty.

The biological controls available to organic gardeners can help keep these grubs in check. These controls include parasitic nematodes, Bt, parasitic wasps and milky spore bacteria. These controls can often be purchased in garden centers or through mail-order bio-control catalogs.

Luckily, the beetles are only in full force for several weeks at a predictable time each year. We can use our knowledge about Japanese beetles and their habits to beat them at their own game.

hai Jay 06-06-2009 09:00 PM

Re: Japanese beetle
we have just little planters on our railing, so the worm stuff sounds like the best idea - either real worms or worm poo.
we have a little bird that's made a nest right behind the lip of the covering of our porch/balcony and i hope it eats some of them. we've been flicking them off.

matt said he's heard of sprinkling flour on them or on the garden and when they eat the plants it fucks with their stomach or something. i searched it online and didn't find much there on it. it made me think though of the whole birds and rice thing, since it's got to be self-rising flour.

thanks for the info!

psychoDiablo 06-07-2009 01:08 PM

Re: Japanese beetle
the green flying blind beetles, bumping and crashing into everything. they love fig trees

hai Jay 06-28-2009 10:58 AM

Re: Japanese beetle
2 Attachment(s)
well now our freakin' tomato plants are being over run by tons of little green caterpillars. seriously, they've nearly stripped the two hot house plants we've got in the same pot. luckily our jalepeno, roma tomato, and hot house clone are surviving unscathed...but jeeze i've never hated a bug so much. and of course me freaking out being scared i'm going to get bit by one trying to pull them off, or that i'm going to pull too hard and rip it apart or bust it open horrifies me so i freak out trying to pull them off. redundant? they feel so gross when you squeeze them.
but i don't know how to get rid of them other than to constantly scan and pick them off. they seem more active at night, then we wake up in the morning and whole shoots are stripped of their leaves, save the little yellow blooms that form the tomatoes.

look at the pictures: healthy roma tomato, vs. raped by caterpillars hot house tomato. i just hate those little bastards. i don't care what kind of butterfly they turn into. of course if i find any cocoons eventually, i won't pick those off and fling them over the balcony, but still.

ablethevoice 08-12-2010 09:34 AM

Re: Japanese beetle
Actually, the tomato hornworm isn't a butterfly larva; its a 5-spotted Hawk Moth. I've already removed about a dozen from my pepper plants - luckily before they managed to strip all the leaves off them. I'm pretty sure I've seen the parasitic wasps they mention but I'm not sure. Hell, out here there have to be 300 different species of wasps. I chased one out of the kitchen that had to be 3 inches long. Fucker was so huge I think I saw tail numbers on it.

Bamcubz 08-20-2010 11:35 PM

Re: Japanese beetle
I know bugs are everywhere but why do they have to be so damn BIG here in Florida. uugggg

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