BEFORE the Japanese Beetles arrive...

dyhgarden(7b)April 2, 2008

What are folks doing this year to protect roses and such? We have too much open meadow to afford milky spore (and my neighbors won't do anything on their property so the JBs would just be on the next property).

I've thought about trying some tightly woven mesh to just cover the roses. Has anyone ever tried that? I prefer not to use chemicals due to all the wildlife we intentionally attract, and we have a water feature with fish and frogs. So, I want something organic and safe for the critters.



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My yard has never been a Mecca for JB's since I have little lawn and few blooming shrubs. But this year many of my babies will finally reach blooming size so that may all change. And I have more roses than in years past.

In the past daily squishing frenzies kept things under control (every morning and evening) - mostly if you get to the scene of the crime early, before the masses of beetles get the memo about what is blooming in your yard.

This year I will probably prune off all of their favorite flowers and wait for their season to be over. If they take too long to get the message I may resort to netting certain bushes.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 2:44PM
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For me it's hopeless because I am surrounded by pastures. By some miracle last year (perhaps it was the late freeze?) my roses bloomed before the Japanese Beetles came out.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 5:13PM
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I haven't tried the mesh, although it sounds like a good idea. The cup of soapy water worked well for select plants, and I actually did use the pheromone traps--stuck them down in the woods. Although two or three trees were decimated there and I hauled out a bag full of stinking beetle bodies every other day, my roses were untouched (well, almost)! My idea is to change the location slightly of the pheromone traps this year so the same trees don't get hit again. We'll see if this strategy bites me this year...planted two more roses this fall, so I'll put it to the test.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 8:28PM
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Tammy Kennedy

You can spray with neem oil- that's supposed to repel them and is all natural, so it doesn't have nasty, never break down chemicals. I have it- just have never bothered to use it (i'm really lazy about spraying anything). I get decent control with just the soapy water method into a cut milk jug, morn & eves when they're sluggish (kids help). A bit of damage doesn't get my knickers in a twist, either. Certain plants act as magnets, so if you concentrate your efforts on knocking the big orgy clumps into the water there you can cut their numbers quickly. I always dump the dead bodies at the foot of something they're pestering, hoping the dead beetle smell might drive them off. It sure works for me!!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2008 at 11:22PM
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I had so much trouble finding neem oil last year until I had a lot of damage, but it looked like it would have worked. I'll go ahead and fnd some now.

We did the "pick and dunk" thing as much as possible, but we still ended up with a lot of damage. We are in the hottest south sun you can imagine with open meadows all through our neighborhood (acreage lots). It's a JB dream destination!

That's an interesting idea about the dead beetle smell by dumping bodies. We have a crepe myrtle (shrub type) that gets hit, too. Dead JB mulch may work there! The large CMs don't seem to get the damage.

Last year was tough...that late frost, the JBs, then the drought! Hopefully, we'll have a better growing season this year. This rainy week is great!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:43AM
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Beetles find their food by following chemical cues most often on the wind and in the air. Males beetles find females this way and both sexes find food this way. When they find a plant worth eating they emit chemicals that alert other beetles AND the plant under attack emits chemicals that the beetles have learned to follow. So when you see one beetle eating you need to understand that others are on their way. This is why some people don't like pheramone traps because they feel that it attracts more beetles into your yard than would be there otherwise. I have no idea what sort of chemical cues are given off by a pile of rotting beetles but I try to scatter them far apart just to be safe.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:48AM
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Tammy Kennedy

hmmm- may have to rethink that strategy, then. Guess i'd figured that the chemical odor would be different if dead, and would warn them off, rather than call them in. Sort of like how when you squish a yellow jacket it sends a chem signal to all his friends that he's been squished and they come to defend the hive (not that you want JB's coming to defend, but my point is it's a different chem signal than the come hither one). You have a great point- we don't know what we're/they're telling the live beetles. Maybe the compost pile is the best place for them. I've wondered before if perhaps the eggs would develop normally if they were far enough along when the female was killed(kinda gross thought).

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 11:13AM
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It's only for less than a month, I just give in and let them eat. I don't get that many and I hate spraying chemicals unless I have to.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 1:25PM
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I haven't tried it before, but I plan on buying neem oil. I'll let you know how it works. I got decimated last year and I'm really hoping to ward them off this year.

I used Sevin last year against my own better judgement and I wound up killing about 8 of my brand new rose bushes. I planted 12 and now only have 4 left, so that was a major disappointment. I won't use it again this year, no matter the swarms!!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 2:10PM
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