beetle horror

afireflyApril 4, 2011


It looked like about a million beetles were eating my Japanese maple today.

Does anyone know if the leaves will grow back. Is my tree doomed?

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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Oh my goodness! What kind of beetles are they? Not Japanese beetles I hope.

I don't know about maples, but about 35 years ago there was an infestation of what we called 'army worms' that completely defoliated the many live oak trees on our two acres THREE TIMES! This was before many people thought about spraying insecticides and I thought surely the trees would die, but they put on a fourth set of leaves and the trees still live. I'm betting your Japanese maple can recover as well.

Incidentally, I've never seen this kind of caterpillar infestation happen since. The caterpillars were hanging from the trees on threads of silk like curtains.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 7:01PM
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lou_midlothian_tx(z8 DFW, Tx)

Where are you located? I don't usually see Japanese beetles till June, I think so you must be located that far south.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 9:37AM
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I am in Austin. I am not sure what kind of beetles they are. They have the same color as Japanese beetles but they were really tiny.

I guess my tiny infestation is nothing compared to yours, Rosalee! That's just crazy awful.

I had heard once that those kinds of caterpillar infestations happen on cycles. Let's hope the cycle is like every hundred years or so ;)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:12PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I am outside of Austin and the Japanese beetles are out here. Or they are smaller brown variety of them. The leaves under the Oaks and the leaves in the trees are rustling with them at sunset. It always weirds me out.

Latter the Oak leaf rollers will come out. Is that what you are talking about, Roselee? We usually have a few dangling from the trees but one year it was so bad that they denuded a whole area in the hill Country. It must be a cyclical thing. I bought some tricagama wasps from Arbico and the next year, my neighbor had them but I did not. It was so bad that we had the dangling worms on strings but you could hear a rain of worm poop. I remember, I went out to do my morning meditation , one morning, and I had to tip over my chair and sweep of the porch of a layer of the Shiz or Frass as some call it. I settled down in my chair and my mantra of the morning was , Frass happens.

Oops, I have strayed off subjectOak Leaf Rollers, Good name for a Bluegrass or Country band.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:30PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

I meant "June bugs" in the statement above.. They are native and do not do much damage. They look similar to Japanese beetles but I do not notice much damage from the native june bugs (that come in April). Here is something on Japanese bugs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Japanese beetle link

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 1:45PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

Wantonamara, thank goodness you were talking about pretty much harmless June bugs above and not Japanese beetles, although I've read that they've been spotted in Texas.

And afirefly we still don't know what kind of beetles were eating your tree.

Japanese beetle are easily recognized by the white spots along the wing edges. I've seen them when visiting the eastern states. Thanks for the link above with the good photos and life cycle.

Yes, I think the caterpillars in the oaks were leaf rollers. I remember the 'gentle rain' of frass. "Leaf Rollers" would be a great name for a band!

There's another beetle around that eats flowers. It's about the size of a June bug, but more greyish with kind of dusty looking lighter grey spots. I had them about ten years ago and found that application of beneficial nematodes gave very good control. The bennies remain in the soil as long as it doesn't dry out completly. My soil has gotten pretty dry in recent years and the flower beetles appeared last summer. I again sprayed the beneficial nematodes. Repeated it this year just in case and again saw a couple of grubs wiggling around on the surface of the soil so the good nematodes go to work very quickly.

Here's a couple of pictures of the flower beetles ...

They make a mess of flowers and especially relish light colored roses and Lousianna irises.

Here is a link that might be useful: About beneficial nematodes ...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 3:13PM
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Thanks for the link. That was really helpful. I think what I have been calling Japanese beetles in the past were actually june bugs. What I saw on the tree looked a lot like the Japanese beetles in the link. I haven't seen any lately but the tree is looking pretty ragged. They must have moved on to something else. (fingers crossed) I think I am going to try using milky spore and/or nemotodes on the lawn but I kind of wonder how effective that will be if the bugs are able to travel long distances. We'll see.

HAHAHA, Wantonamara Frass happens. That's really cute.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 12:54PM
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wantonamara Z8 CenTex

Those beetles go after my cactus blooms

    Bookmark   April 8, 2011 at 1:07AM
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