The Japanese beetles have arrived over the past couple of days. Trying real hard not to spray insecticide but they're out of my reach at about 7 ft, attacking my porcelain berry vine which they seem to prefer to anything else. Has anyone ever tried using a battery operated dust buster to suck them up? That would help me reach the critters without harming my plants or other beneficials like bees and dragonflies.
I'll be out hunting down those critters later today. They usually are most active in the afternoon in the strong sunlight. I'm going to try the dust buster on those too high for me to pick off. That'll give me an extra foot of reach. Good to know about the JPs reacting to scent. Thanks.
Tried the dust buster on the Japanese beetles - not enough suction to pry them off of the plants. Did resort to hand-picking them and drowning them in soapy water. Not quite as much satisfaction that way though.
I think I pulled in between 30 and 40 yesterday. They're very attracted to my porcelain berry vine, maybe because it's up higher. Pulled only a few from rose flowers. I'll be out there again today. Since they're busiest in the afternoon in the full sun, I made about 4 or 5 passes roughly a half hour apart.
We have put milky spore down for two years now, 2 or 3 times a year. But that won't keep the critters from flying in from elsewhere. We put down the milky spore to eliminate the grubs in the lawn that the neighbor's "pet" raccoons keep digging for.
Hi all. I'm new to the forum. This will be my first post here. This thread caught my eye because we've been having a significant problem with JB's this year and wanted to see if anyone was having better success with them. They've infested our birch trees, grape vines, fruit trees, and raspberries.
My husband has been using the power washer to spray up into the trees with a Dawn dish soap solution. In the blender, he also whizzed up a concoction of catnip, garlic and Dawn. In addition to that, he placed several traps around the yard. It appears they might finally be moving along, with the exception of one birch tree that was left untreated all this time. It's now infested more heavily than the rest.
Something is working. I'm guessing the Dawn. But he's been at this daily for longer than a week. The traps drew in hundreds of beetles. We can't tell if they did more harm than good.
As a side note, the chickens really love these things. Too bad they can't fly as high as the beetles. They would decimate the population.
Check out the youbetyourgarden.org website. He's got some good points about breaking the JB cycle but it has to be done on a yearly basis. Says to only use the traps to monitor the arrival of the pests and then take them down once you see the first one. Spraying would involve either Neem or one of the spinosads.
Came home from a mini vacation and collected another 50 of the critters within an hour of my arrival. Couldn't stand the sight of them. Maybe with the heat and drought here it's just a bad year for them?
Definitely no drop off in their presence here. Every morning the decks near the birch trees are covered with their droppings. The cherry tree is almost stripped of leaves on the top layer. The peach tree the same. Hubs is still out there every day to every other day spraying Dawn and water into the treetops. We're wondering of bats eat them, seeing as how we now have bat guano under the birch tree. Would that be nice?
I heard they have a short season - three weeks or so? It's been at least a month here and we'll be very glad to see them move on.
It's been about 3 weeks here so hoping they'll end soon. Do your bats only come out at dusk? I don't remember seeing the JBs flying too late into the evening. Would be cool though if they were eating them.
Indeed! I stepped out onto the deck the other night to protect my seedlings from an impending storm front. Instead of rain, I was showered by JB's falling from the tree. About 20 of them came hailing down onto the deck and table like little black pellets of ice. Must be the Dawn intoxication. :D
Those things creep me out. Can't imagine them raining down on me. But then there must have been some satisfaction! One flew down my shirt yesterday when I was out collecting them and it was all I could do to keep from pulling off my shirt to get rid of it. I'm approaching the 300 count and have worn a path in the lawn from my patrols. I'm thinking my garden would have been toast this year if not for catching them.
I resorted to JB bug bags this year since I haven't received the duster yet to apply the 50# of food grade DE (diatomaceous earth) I bought around the garden (for most pests) and the yard (for fleas and ticks). The JB's were so thick on my raspberries and blackberries that it was hazardous to pick fruit. The JB's immediately left my filbert bush for the traps; last year they chewed almost ALL the leaves off the filbert and I thought it might die.
In the last 3 weeks, the JB's have filled NINE of the bug bags! I'm sure some are from the neighboring houses but I have the only garden and my berries and filberts would draw the JB's anyway.
I also bought milky spore which I will apply in September, but it takes a couple of years to really work.
Darius - do you think you have less damage using the bug bags or fewer JBs? Are they the actual JB traps that I've heard about? I'm sooooo tempted to use one after tramping around swatting them into soapy water for a month. Good thing it's too hot to do much gardening because I sure wouldn't get any done. This year I have more sun in the small garden bed that they're targeting and I notice that while there are a few before 11am, they really target that area once the sun hits it and then wind down in the late afternoon. It's been a month since I spotted the first one and they're still flying in. I've collected about 50 since yesterday. We put down milky spore twice last year and in the spring this year. I've heard that to keep the milky spore at it's best performance that some JBs do have to lay their eggs in the ground but have no experience to go by. I wonder if our dry, hot weather has any affect on the JB population.
Cindy, I'm using the easily-found JB traps from Spectracide. I don't have fewer JB's but I sure have less damage. I've seen more JB's this year than ever.
I hadn't read that milky spore needs a few JB's to lay eggs in the ground to be more effective. All I know is that every JB I collect in the bags is one less to lay eggs. I suppose a full bag of them holds maybe 1,000 JB's, and I've collected 9 bags so far.
Yeah, I should have started several years ago, but better late than never.
I don't see many JBs here but this year more than usual. And mine hang out in the porcelain vine and the Virginia Creeper vines. I knock them into a cup of soapy water each day around 4 pm. The smell from the cup when I remove the cover is very remenicent to me of BMSB ( brown marmorated stink bug). In fact , as I have dealt with stink bug invasions here over the last three years, I find that habit wise JBs and stinkbugs are similar in a number of ways(Fly in in afternoon, hang out in groups to feed, fly off to hunker down somewhere for the night repeat, both like porcelain vine and virginia creeper...few natural predators)
Last year I did use a vacuum to capture stink bugs when they appeared in large numbers on the southwest side of my house looking for overwintering quarters as temps cooled. I used a small wet/dry vac with about an inch of soapy water in it. This vac was powerful enough to suck them right up and drown them. I did add an extra long hose ( Plastic laundry tub hose from HD) with duct tape and used the crivice tool that came with the vac.. This gave me the height and reach up to 20 feet or roof peek. I attached long hose and end to a long bamboo pole and was able to maneuver it quite well.
My setup works on JBs . I even caught one on the fly! I've also used on gypsy moth, winter moth and tent caterpillars and ants. Several 100' extension cords and I can get to most of my gardens. Unlike a reg vac or dustbuster, the wet/dry vac is so much easier to clean and deodorize.
I think mine is a 3 gal and I run it without filter. There are smaller and also battery operated, too.
Hope this helps Judy
PS Secretly I'm hoping that more people will vacuum their garden pests so I won't feel so weird!
Judy, I never considered vacuuming mine, perhaps because there are so many and my garden is so spread out. It sure would beat hand-picking them.
I did read today that the JB's lay eggs early in their life cycle, then feed and repeat ad nauseum, so I guess that means another bunch next year. The milky spore says it takes 2-3 years until the grubs begin to take up the spore and then spread it.
Pure, cold-pressed neem oil works extremely well as a powerful antifeedant. I put 6 amur maple leaves in a bug box with a handful of beetles a few years ago. 3 of the leaves were eaten almost completely and 3 were untouched - guess which were the untouched leaves? Neem oil also acts as a chemosterilizer, leaving the beatles unable to reproduce.
How I use:
1 pint of very hot water
1 pint of rubbing alcohol
1 tsp neem oil (recommend Dyna-Gro's product)
few drops of Murphy's or other real soap
Mix soap and neem into hot water. Shake well. Add alcohol. Use in a 1 qt hand spritzer - shake regularly as you apply to keep the product from separating. Use it all up in 1 day - it doesn't store well. Cover all surfaces of the plant.
Judy - Brilliant! We have two wet/dry vacs and one is smaller. Will have to talk to DH about commandeering the smaller one for the season. Don't have stink bugs here (that I know of) but have heard that they are a real problem in the east. The only smell I detect is the drowned JBs in soapy water left in the sun for a day or so. I keep my container handy so that I can collect the JBs throughout the afternoon. I'm becoming a little OCD about collecting them as I've had my porcelain berry vine for years and never get to see the colorful berries. I'm determined this year to see some.
Darius - I had recently read about the egg-laying repetitive cycle and that's somewhat discouraging. I had also heard to avoid watering the lawn during this period as the JBs have a tough time laying eggs in hard dirt.
tapla - thanks for that recipe. In the past I had used nasty commercial insect sprays on the JBs which also tended to damage the foliage in the hot sun. So, I hesitated spraying anything this year, not knowing what might harm the foliage and needing to keep beneficials around for my tomato, squash and cucumber plants (which the JBs don't touch). I do have some neem but will have to make sure it's the right type as it's been difficult to find locally. Only thing I could find is Natural Guard Neem-Py for fruit trees which says on the label that it's harmful to bees if sprayed directly (and they're out early in the morning). I don't think that's the stuff I want to use.
Yes, tapla, thanks for the recipe. Along with Cindy, I'm wondering if you (or other readers) can speak to using your recipe in direct sun,? Temps above 80 degrees? will it burn leaves? how long is it effective?, how should it be stored to prevent it going rancid? can it be used on "edibles"? should it be sprayed lightly on all plant surfaces or til dripping wet? does it do anything to already laid eggs? and anything else you'd care to throw in...!!
Seems there are a number of products out there that contain neem oil but that also contain chems that I prefer not to use like the Natural Guard stuff with permithrins/pyritums, etc that Cindy mentions as they do harm beneficials.
If Darius, for instance, used your recipe now on plants currently being eaten by JBs would that be the way to go (weather wise, etc) and would it in addition to protecting the plants, also disrupt the continual egg laying?
Are there any downsides to using your neem recipe or instances you have found ineffective?
Thanks in advance for reading and considering my many questions and double thanks for your response!
Darius, I first began my adventure with vacuums in the garden when our oak trees here were over run with gypsy moths. Defoliation was very real and a promise of even more for the next year. It rained caterpillar frass everywhere. I determined that I myself was the closest thing to a natural predator in my neck of the woods and set about devising ways ti save the trees and significantly decrease the population exploding all around me.
One control measure I undertook involved banding my trees about three feet up with a sticky barrior to prevent the caterpillars from crawling up and down the trunks to feed in the canopies and another band of burlap underwhich they would take shelter. I banded thirty large oaks, maples, etc mostly on my property.
I quickly learned that like Mickey Mouse in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" where the brooms kept multiplying that hand picking tree by tree for several hours each day was a losing battle, ie one stuck bug became a highway for others to cross over the stickies. In the time it took me to do one tree by hand, twenty to thirty on the other trees were already out of reach.
In shear desperation, I grabbed an old canister vac slated for the trash with a half full bag of something, plugged it in...and it worked! Filled that bag, plopped in another and hauled out my extension cords and OCD ed my way from tree to tree. I did this crazy thing daily for almost four weeks, filling countless bags, the contents of which I stomped on repeatedly inside of the trash bag as I wanted no survivors to go to the land fill. ( Guess it didn't occur to me how else to recycle them. Most birds still don't like them much. )
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Here is a pic of a small (2 gal) wet/dry vac similar to the one I currently count among my garden tools. Good luck Cindy and if you don't like the smell of sun cooked soapy JBs hope the brown marmorated stink bug doesn't keep invading new territory and comes into some sort of ecological balance.
I checked my still small filbert yesterday, and it looks like I'll have twice as many nuts as last year now that the JB's aren't defoliating it. (Last year, where it first produced nuts, the "crop" was about 15 nuts!) I need to start several more of them around the yard. If/when Push comes to Shove, I currently raise very little that will provide Omega 3's and have no animals for fats.
Judy - good to know I'm not the only OCD gardener when it comes to voracious eaters. And I do like all of the questions you've asked. The county/state has started a aerial spraying program for gypsy moths here since we have lots of woods but so far I haven't had a problem with them (knock on wood). They came through about a month ago. Hmmm - I think you can keep your stink bugs or I'd have to learn more pest control. :)
The JBs are acting very differently today but it's overcast, hot and humid with no wind. Not all buzzing around like they normally do. And today's favorite on the bug buffet are the flowers of Heuchera 'Palace Purple'. That's kinda ok since I usually cut the flower stems off anyway.
luscious - Gosh - what were the planes spraying for?
Last evening, I threw 2 collected bags of BB's (tied tightly into a plastic grocery bag) in the back of my truck... but I left the window on the topper open. Today there were about a hundred JB's covering the outside of the bags. I guess their smell DOES attract more JB's, even from inside 2 bags.
Amazing! Too bad the smell from my can of drowned JBs doesn't entice them right into the can. I can't leave the can out at night though or the local foraging raccoons will dump them out and eat them. Has already happened once. I did spot two JBs chomping on my kale plants around dusk last night. Now I know where they go at night.
I put down Milky Spore early this Spring and report that there are less than a quarter amount of Japanese beetles to deal with. Also, I planted a well-known "trap plant," Four O'Clocks, in my vegetable garden. They are lovely, controllable, and both attract and poison Japanese Beetles.
I'm sticking to this routine.
I'm planning on 4 o'clocks as well. I wonder how far I should keep them from their target roses and such. The JBs are finally gone. Lasted about 7 weeks. Ugh. All hand-trapped. But I do feel better about not using insecticides when I see all of the pollinators in that one small patch of garden.
Did you send all those JBs west to make room for stink bugs? :)
I have noticed that the raccoons aren't digging in the lawn for grubs as much this year. Don't know if it's the dry conditions or the milky spore we've put down for two years.
I saw my first purple fruit (one) on my porcelain berry vine and am hoping for more in the coming weeks. Amazing how much damage the JBs did even though I was out catching them almost every day. I have noticed that when it's super hot, raining or nighttime, those stinkers hide underneath the leaves so I probably didn't see all of them. They just continue to eat from underneath.
Tam - do you use any of the stink bug trapping methods? I listen to Mike McGrath a lot (based in Philly) and I understand those stink bugs are a real problem.
I'm very passive about pest control in my garden. I have used BT type sprays for the caterpillars on my kale but that's about it. So nope. Not anything for the stink bugs. I catch them all winter in the house. I have chickens and we encourage the barn swallows so we have the bird patrol going. But that's it.
Cindy, Don't forget that stink bugs can be vacuumed up ala small wet/dry vac with soapy water inside. Important to seal up any access to your home before weather turns cool and they begin to look for overwintering quarters. We have an ongoing thread on stink bugs in the Mid Atlantic forum here
coleup - thanks for the heads-up on the stink bug thread. Fortunately, I don't have them here (yet). I had just heard another use for a shop vac. Yellow jacket nests. If the nest is within range of the shop vac hose, set up the vac after dark the night before. Prop the end of the hose near the nest. In the morning, turn on the shop vac and walk (run) away. Leave it running for an hour or more. Supposedly, the yellow jackets will want to attack the vac because of the noise and will get sucked up. Plug the end of the hose before turning off the vac. Turn off the vac and leave it sitting in the sun on a hot day for several hours to kill the pests inside.
Wouldn't you know that a pair of cardinals decided to nest in my porcelain berry vine? They waited until after most of the JBs were gone. Would have been nice to know if the birds would have eaten the JBs.
Interesting JB posts.
In 2003 I trapped an estimated 270,000 of the beetles. I killed them however I could. I even put down a little bit of Milky Spore in '04. This year I counted 5 beetles and 8 last year, and a few in 2010. Sure the traps may bring in some from down the road, but I figure that a dead beetle will not eat anymore or lay any more eggs. A word of warning... The dead females will soon hatch out live larva so you want to make sure the dead beetles cannot hatch out larva.
I drowned all of mine in soapy water. I noticed that if I didn't put soap (liquid dish) in the water, those suckers would swim for hours! Because it was so hot here, I got kinda lazy and didn't empty my coffee can every day - just left it sitting out there, maybe as a warning? - so it would get pretty smelly. I hate the sound and feel of crunching those things - gives me shivers.
Yeah - they're back here too, almost worse than last year. Ever since we cut down two oaks that partially shaded the bed, I've had problems. My lot on that side isn't big enough for traps, the 4 o'clock plants I started from seed a few months ago haven't even developed flower buds (hopefully using as either bait or deterrent) so I'm trying Neem on the places I can't reach and only on plants that other pollinators aren't visiting and started drowning what I could reach this morning. I refuse to trample in that bed like I did last year, killing a Delphinium tricorne (luckily there were seedlings). My dilemma is that they're attracted to my porcelain berry vine but will also go to an azalea, clematis and hydrangea. I guess I have to be willing to sacrifice ever seeing blue berries to keep the critters from bothering other plants. Ugh.
They arrived back here on July 3rd, as they always do, and I found the first one on a clematis...then came the daylilies but none (yet) on hydrangeas. As soon as they arrive I cut every rose and all rose buds to keep them from their insane six week orgy of sex and feeding in the gardens. How rude of them!
Mine arrived the last week of June. At first I didn't panic as there were only a few. Went away for a couple of days over the 4th and came back to lots of lacy leaves on the porcelain berry. That seems to be their main attractant. Only have a carpet rose blooming at the moment and they seem to like the older blooms more than the newly opened blooms. Caught a couple of those creeps on my tomato plants and snow peas which I won't spray. At first I thought the Neem was a deterrent but now I'm not so sure. The creeps will die if I spray them enough times but coating the leaves doesn't seem to repel them. I believe the Neem is supposed to mess with their digestive systems. I have one Clematis on a trellis that's about the same height as the porcelain berry vine and I do find several in an orgy cluster but they don't seem to eat the Clematis that I can tell. But I don't want to spray the Clematis either as there are a lot of other flying creatures that like them. I did catch around 50 or 60 today that I could reach, batting them into a coffee can of soapy water. Sorry for the long rant. Grrrr...
I did a little blog about sparrows , you know , the little invasive from japan also ..
I put a few dead ones I stepped on in the feeder and on the drive , the sparrows the starlings and the purple martins ,and even a few cardinals started chasing them for food ..
That got them naturally under control (the JB's) the problem is though , Once they begin eating the Beetles they eat sprayed beetles and often end up poisoned ..
Why does everything always have to be back to poison ?
Those critters attack me when they see me coming with the spray bottle. Hmmm - I had heard one organic gardener mention to be careful with spraying leaves/flowers as the Neem could act as a poison on anything feeding on foliage. Could this be incorrect?
juhur - you actually trained some birds to eat the JBs?
I think my spray bottle is biting the dust from the Neem. Could the oils do damage to plastic? It was a new spray bottle a month ago.
You already said something to me about that .. not picking on you .. and this morning I smashed 3 or 4 of 6 or 8 , that I could grab , while I was doing that , those sparrows came and watched ,, really, no fooling ,, hamburger with their whole grain french fries made from grain..
Thanks for posting that link. I read the reviews and saw that most users are not happy. So much for a warranty on a $3.78 product.
Already outside this morning, grabbing and spraying. In the mornings, that alluring bed is in the shade. Activity really heats up in the afternoon when the sun is shining on it. Will have to rest up to do battle until then. And I think I'm seeing tiny flower buds on the 4 o'clocks. Dare I hope for assistance from them???
greenbrain - thanks for that positive vote on the 4 o'clocks. I'm so limited in space since that bed is deep and narrow along the side of the house that I don't have a lot of options on where to put the pots. The JBs tend to fly in at about 6 to 8 ft high so I'm hoping the blooms will be enough to lure them to a lower level.
Sprayer working better now - had a small bit of leaf in the bottom that must have been blocking the intake.
I plant mine near the garage in the narrow strip between the driveway and neighbor's fence. They self-seed & usually come back on their own. To be safe, I still save some seeds. Now I've read that you can dig the tubers and store them for spring planting. I've never tried this yet, but have been thinking about it.
Thought this was a good time to broach this subject again. I haven't had much of a problem with Japanese Beetles and I've always wondered if it's because I feed the birds and have lots of assorted birds in my yard.
Just out of curiosity, I Googled it and found this interesting bit of info on eHow.com. Apparently there are many species of birds that enjoy a meal of Japanese Beetles and/or grubs.
Have plenty of birds in and around the garden. Grey catbirds seem to be pretty good at picking pests (sawfly larva) off of shrubs so hoping they'll help me out a bit this year. I also cut down my porcelain berry vine which seems to be a real magnet for them but will probably mean more devastation of roses, etc.
The jb have once again eaten my entire elderberry bush. I hand pick at least 10 times a day. I tried spraying with dish liquid & oil but didn't seem to stop them one bit. They also love the blackberries & my roses are history. They also seem to love my wisteria this year. I don't want to use pesticides due to pets, a child & wildlife. Does anyone have an idea for an effective spray for the fruit that is not poisonous? I'm beginning to think I should just give up the thought of ever seeing an elderberry.
Felt the same way about ever seeing the blue berries on my porcelain berry vine. Gave up on that since reading that it's really bothered by JBs. You might try looking into Azamax. A fellow DGer mentioned that one to me last year. It's a derivative of Neem - just the insecticidal properties without the disease properties normally in Neem. It can still harm some beneficials so best to use early in the morning before bees, etc come out. You could also check into the efficacy of Surround on JBs - a kaolin clay to be mixed with water and sprayed on. Not sure that it would save the roses but I know it can be used on fruit trees.