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Beware of the beetles

600px-Popillia_japonica.jpg One major American pest that we don’t have in Britain, thank goodness, is the Japanese beetle. Especially familiar in the east, the grubs eat roots and are especially fond of the roots of lawn grasses. The adults eat a vast variety of plants, and once you’ve got them you soon know about it. They really can eat. They’re a menace. And they’re not easy to control.

There are chemicals will control Japanese beetles – but many of them are pretty nasty. So gardeners often use traps. They work by using a pheromone to attract male beetles or a sweet food lure to attack both males and females. You can buy a Japanese Beetle trap from Gardener’s Supply Company and other mail order and retail sources, or you can make your own beetle trap. They work, they really do work, they work very well, you can trap a huge number of beetles. Trouble is, they work too well.

Let me quote the University of Kentucky website, their Japanese beetle page is really excellent.

“Research conducted at the University of Kentucky showed that the traps attract many more beetles than are actually caught. Consequently, susceptible plants along the flight path of the beetles and in the vicinity of traps are likely to suffer much more damage than if no traps are used at all.

“In most landscape situations, use of Japanese beetle traps probably will do more harm than good.”

Yes, the attractants in the trap are so good that beetles head for the trap from all far and wide – and end up in your yard.

05-268.jpg Now, the canister on that mail order trap holds 400 beetles. Sounds like a lot of beetles. But just take a look at this home video (it’s a bit wobbly, but you’ll get the point) to see how many beetles just one trap can attract in just one day. And what do they do when the canister on your mail order trap is full? They eat your plants. Be warned.

Try a trap by all means – but be prepared to empty it about every, err… twenty minutes?! And over in Britain - just think yourselves lucky.

Now check out the video, and be afraid.