These beetles are eating some of my California giant zinnias. What are they, and how can they be stopped without harming the butterflies?
Thanks for your help, Tony
I'm currently picking them off my pawpaw, stinging nettles, chokecherry and ornamental crabapples. I pick them off and smash their heads. When you try to grab them, they will try to drop off the plant so keeping a second hand under them foils their escape plans. I know other people that go around with a small tub of soapy water, hold it under the beetle and then get the beetle to drop into the water where it eventually dies.
Don't use the bag-a-bug things unless you are just totally overrun because the attractants on the bag-a-bug attract even more beetles to your yard.
These bugs are a gardener's worst nightmare come true!! Unfortunately, you're stuck with them for the next few months. Whatever you spray on your plants will only discourage the butterflies from visiting your garden. Your best bet is to just start handpicking. Grab a bucket of HOT water and put some liquid dish soap in there. They should die in a few minutes.
I bought a Japanese Beetle Trap from Gardener Supply Co. this year and have been very pleased with it. I have used it for the past 4 weeks. I like it because I just dump it every two days and use it over and over again-rather than buying new bags each time. Compared to last year, this Beetle Trap has really helped keep the beetle population down in my yard. Last year I was in the hospital and could not keep up with the beetle population and came home and the beetles had not only eaten all of my roses but also had eaten all the leaves. I had to prune the roses down to a foot and they did recover. This summer I have seen 5-10 beetles in my yard daily and have caught up to 400 in the trap, daily.
Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese Beetle Trap
yikes Betty! 400??? They aren't too bad yet. I had seen them on a couple of weeds and didn't care about those. Now that they're on the Zinnias I'm declaring WAR. Thanks for the tips KC and perennial fan. I'm going to take back my Zinnias NOW :)
20 minutes later- I hand picked them off with a bucket of soapy water underneath and it worked like a charm. I actually remember now that they were on the liatris last year. They chewed up some of the leaves, but left the flowers alone.
A male monarch circled around me almost the entire time I freed the zinnias. He kept landing on our joe pye weed (gateway) which is a lot bigger this year. I wonder if it will attract any butterflies when it blooms?? (sorry, I'm losing focus)
Anyhow, thankyou all for helping me. I am confident this pest damage will be kept to a minimum with a few hand pickings. Tony
They are voracious Monster. I usually have them for a month or so at the beginning of June. There may be an occasional one over the next week or two, but not much.
I remember too (from last year) that they just disappeared after a while. They seem to be gone today. I am optimistic we didn't have very many.