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More of the same.

July 26, 2008 - Janet DelTurco
I wish I had a magical remedy to give to all the people who are calling me and e-mailing about their Japanese beetle problem. This year has been the worst ever for me, and evidently for many of you. But all I can do is to repeat what I have said before, and tell you what I have been doing since late June. The best remedy, and the only one that is 100% successful is hand picking. I keep a can of soapy water in every troublesome area, and as I walk by I pick off any beetles I see and leave them to drown. These cans of bugs get very smelly, and need emptying often as they fill up. I think at the moment I have nine or ten cans out there. This is the only thing I do for my raspberries which we are going to eat, and luckily the beetles seem to prefer the leaves to the berries. Very unsightly, but do not affect the crop. I won't use pesticide on roses and other affected flowers that are near butterfly bushes, Russian sage, or other plants that attract bees and butterflies. With the roses, especially my treasured Peace rose, I pick the buds as soon as they are fully formed and bring them into the house where they are safe and I can enjoy them. For other areas, Sevin is the best for me. I use the powdered form, and use it in a sprayer or puffer, whatever its proper name may be. It kills on contact, and is effective for several days after use. And finally, for long-term prevention, there is something I have not tried yet. Milky Spore is a bacteria that is naturally occurring. This should be applied to the ground on an overcast day in late September, and as it spreads in the soil over several years, it will kill the grubs that will grow up to be next year's crop of beetles. For this to work, encourage your neighbors to do the same. And finally, the calendar is your friend. By mid-August the beetles should be gone.


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