june bugs snackin' on my maple

manbird1June 9, 2010

So I was just lookin over one of my trees today and found several junebugs chompin' away at the foliage....Are they harmless...just doin what junebugs do? or are they dangerous if left unchecked? Ive got a screened-in porch out back that i can use to keep it under wraps if needed till the critters are gone for the season, but I was hoping to really give it a good bit of sun this summer to encourage more color. Its a potted crimson queen since i forgot to mention that earlier.

thanks for any input....

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houstontexas123(z9a)

in large numbers the adults can do some damage. usually its the grubs that cause the most problems. i've found some in a pot where one of my plants died early this spring. now i kill every june bug i see. the grubs will harm your lawn, vegetables and other plants' roots.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 5:25AM
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manbird1

So, do you think The beetles would find my potted maple a prime site to lay eggs? I want to think that they prefer open turf... We have plenty of it here in our neighborhood.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:38AM
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kaitain4(7)

Are they June Bugs or Japanese Beetles? June bugs are fairly large. Japanese Beetles are about 1/3 of an inch long, green and metallic copper on the back with black legs.

Keeping them on a screened porch will help keep the adults off your plants. The eggs are laid in grass where the grubs feed for a year on the roots. They hatch out in June thru early July and are then gone for another year.

The best cure is called Milky Spore Disease. You can buy it on-line. It is a natural bacteria harmess to people and everything else except Japanese Beetles. You apply it to your lawn and in a couple of years it will start killing most of the grubs before they can hatch into adults. One treatment can last up to 15 years, so in the long run its also an economical solution.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 4:34PM
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manbird1

Kaitain...Soon after my original post I realized they are indeed Japanese Beetles. There are quite a few buzzing around the open areas of turf here in our neighborhood, and they are congregating around the laurels and a holly out front. As soon as I noticed them on my maple, I moved it back to my courtyard in hopes they wouldnt find them. Only really noticed a few actually on the maples and minimal damage to a few leaves. I bet though, given time as numbers increase, so will the damage. I've also got an A.p. Shaina planted in a raised bed in the courtyard...hope i dont have to pot it and get it out of reach. I just really dont want to use insecticides or any other chemical agents, although I have read a bit about the Milky Spore and it seems to be the least dangerous for kids and pets and such. What about Sevin? I guess I would use it as an ABSOLUTE last resort, but dont really know much about it...I've heard some biologists are actually blaming it and other chemicals for a rapid decline in population of honey bees...that sucks....

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:06PM
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kaitain4(7)

Sevin - dangerous!!

I use Bayer insect control for ornamentals (available at Lowes). It comes in a spray bottle, is better for the environment in that it sticks to the leaves and soaks in, and since its systemic it lasts for a few weeks. I selectively spray any maples that are being badly attacked (and only those) twice during the season about 3 weeks apart.

One thing to note - when Japanese Beetles start feeding they mark the plant with a hormone that tells other beetles to come to dinner. So once they start chewing on a plant its usually not long before the whole swarm gangs up on it. Whats strange is that they will chew up one plant and leave the one right next to it alone. Anyway, when I see several leaves skeletonized I know that plant has been marked and that's when I get out the spray. A few nibbles and I don't bother.

You can also pick the beetles off by hand and drop them into a bucket of soapy water. I go on a beetle hunt each morning. They're a little tricky to catch because the have a defensive behavior that lets them slip away - they fold up all their legs and drop like a rock down into the mulch or grass. So be sure to put the bucket underneath the limb where the beetles are before you start trying to catch them so you can thwart any dive-bombers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bayer Insect Control

    Bookmark   June 11, 2010 at 11:42PM
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