June bug death jars

Plain Dealing, LA

A couple of years ago I saw the worst invasion of stink bugs in my organic garden that I have ever experienced. I tried everything I could think of or read about to try to control them, to no avail. Finally, in a very old book I bought at a book sale, (for less than $1.00) I found a sketchy reference to something about mixing molasses and water in an old mayonnaise jar and sinking it in the garden soil up to it's neck. I figured "why not", I've tried just about everything else....It did help, but did not completely take care of the problem. It did, however, COMPLETELY wipe out the June Bug invasion on my plum trees (which are planted fairly close to this particular bed) Every year I fight these "June bugs"-usually by throwing a remay type material over the trees. I waited for the bugs to show up, but they never did......Finally I remembered the jars in the garden (I had forgotten about them.....3 acre organic farm, 1 farmer, occasional senior moments peppered by sheer exhaustion) When I dug up the jars and emptied them out- to my surprise they were absolutely filled with dead June bugs! The only downside that I could see is that 2 small lizards also succumbed to the molasses jars....unfortunate for the lizards, but very effective on the June bugs. The book did not give any hints as to the proportion of the Molasses/water concoction-so I guessed. I put about 1/2 c molasses in each jar, filled it with hot water, placed the cap on and shook it till it combined well-removed the cap and sunk it in the garden. If any one out there has any organic solution for stink bug control, I'm all ears. In the meantime, I'm collecting all my jars for another year of the "molasses jars of death" for the June bugs.

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

Sounds wonderful sacmae but how on earth do you keep animals from slurping it up? I think my dogs would empty it in no time. Any ideas? I'd love to try this. Also what time of year do you do this?


Efland, NC(Zone 7a)

Glad to hear you had great success, sacmae! And I don't think I've said "WELCOME TO DG!!" to you yet!

Some years back on DG there was a June bug/Jap Beetle recipe similar:

1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 mashed banana
1 pkg yeast

and put into a gallon milk bottle. Put it in an area where the beetles gather (near your roses?) with the lid off. The beetles get in but can't get out.

Because there is no sex scent (as in the commercial beetle traps) it only attracts beetles nearby and does NOT holler out loud for every beetle in the neighborhood to come.

As you see there is no use of molasses but I bet it could be added to the above recipe as yet another attractant, eh?
Also, by putting the mix in milk bottles you have a handle so you can attach a string to get it up out of reach of "lapping dogs" or other curious critters, eh?


Oh yeh, as for stink bugs/squash bugs, I spray them with Safer's Soap with a little alcohol added to the mix. (I'm sure you can use pyrethin, which is considered organic, but I prefer to be a bit more selective in my killing habits!)

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

Thanks Shoe! A milk jug should work nicely! As for timing, I suppose I can wait until I see the beetles....sure wish it would work for the larvae that are making the moles so fat and happy.


Plain Dealing, LA

what a great idea to use milk jugs!-I've never had any issues with animals lapping up the molasses mixture probably because all my beds are fenced in -I have a couple of outside dogs that are a black lab/collie mix and LOVE veggies from the garden-I couldn't figure out where all my eggplant and squash were disappearing to till I went out to the garden very early one morning and found Sunny happily munching away on both.......fencing went up that afternoon-she still gets her veggies, but on my schedule, not hers....and thanx for the stink bug recc-I'll be sure to try that this year if they come back around-in all the 15 years I've been farming here I've never seen anything like last year when it came to stink bugs-they were just everywhere in huge numbers.....yuck...

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

I just mixed up a batch and put it out in the garden, I have one rose buch that is infested with green stink bugs.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Toone, TN(Zone 7a)

I haven't seen any beetles yet. (Seems to me they arrive sooner than June though...so I don't know if they are June bugs or Japanese Beetles or both.) Got some milky spore to tackle the grubs. Will wait till we get a good rain to put that down and once I start seeing the beetles I will make up a batch and bury in a milk jug.

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

well dang... make that a rose bush. *L*
So far I don't see any stink bugs in the milk jug, but then I may have found and killed all of them before I set it out.

I'm still going to leave it because if there were a few early bugs, there will most likely be more to come.

These are the bugs I'm talking about.

Thumbnail by dovey
Ijamsville, MD(Zone 6b)

Dovey - can you find out where they are hatching? Look on the undersides of leaves (might not be the rose leaves). Their eggs are dark brown bumps clustered together. Also the nymphs don't look much like the adults http://www.ent.iastate.edu/imagegal/hemiptera/stinkbug/green_stink_bug_nymph.html

More info right here on DG http://davesgarden.com/bf/go/113/

The only way I controlled them in my veggie garden last year was to squish the eggs and nymphs regularly. This year I will squish and plant a jar of molasses water. Good Luck!

Columbus, OH(Zone 5b)

Oh my gosh, the nymphs do look different.
I was out in the garden yesterday and found katydid eggs, but so far nothing else.
I'll keep looking, I watch over my garden like a mother hen and try to catch things before they get too out of control.

Thanks for the links

Southern, NH(Zone 5b)

That jar method reminds me of the old fashioned method for getting rid of fruit flies in your kitchen - put some wine or beer in an old jelly jar and tape a paper cone around the top so that they can't fly out.

Thanks for the tip! My garden is overrun with June bugs every year.

Kannapolis, NC(Zone 7b)

Shoe I can't WAIT to try that mix!!! That all your neighbors beetles won't smell it is even better!!!

I've used a variety of different ways to kill the critters.. One year I picked them all and drowned them in soapy water. Now I do use Sevin on certain trees after losing my weeping cherry to them a few years ago.

On the other stuff I use my FAVORITE method of disposing of them... I set them on fire with my grill lighter!!! :) It doesn't hurt the plants either and is certainly organic - LOL!!!


Ijamsville, MD(Zone 6b)

Thanks Nicole - with my luck I would burn the garden down! Of course I will try burning them anyway.

Los Angeles, CA

So, here's what I do to protect my delicious blackberries from our dreaded yet beautiful June bugs.

I HANG my traps so only June bugs get them. We stash them under the blackberry brambles so they are very hard to see.

Take a few plastic 1 quart juice or milk bottles, leave the cap on and a cut few small holes near the top. Fill and shake with:

Water (1 cup)
Molasses (1/2 cup)
Dry yeast (1 packet)

Hang them up and enjoy your fruit before your June bugs do. Now if I could just find a way to keep the dogs away from those low hanging beauties...

Los Angeles, CA

Here is one of the traps I made this year. Can you find it?

Thumbnail by RedDonnaAnn Thumbnail by RedDonnaAnn Thumbnail by RedDonnaAnn
Hobart, IN

June bugs vs Japanese beetles? I used to get June bugs in my yard but haven't seen any here for several years. They were much bigger than Japanese beetles but didn't seem to do much damage except fly at you at night, making you duck out of the way. The JBs will do some damage to certain plants and will last 6 to 8 weeks. They love DD's raspberries.

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