[nafex] Re: Japanese beetles

Kieran or Donna redherring at tnaccess.com
Fri Jul 20 22:23:15 EDT 2001

We have had the most devasting attack of Japanese beetles we have seen since
the early 80's over in the TN Valley.  It is to the point that we can smell
them, to the point that the plums they always chew badly have no green left
at all, and many of my pole beans are just lace.  It is definitely to the
point where I wish I had some Neem right now, and had gotten over to
McMinnville to buy a QUALITY sprayer to replace my peice of defunct garbage.
They have eaten most of our "decoy" plants, a kind of smartweed and 3-seeded
mercury.  They are eating things I thought no self respecting beetle would
touch, like a young red oak and deerberry.  They aren't just fornicating on
them, they are eating them.
    I am concerned that the beetles may be spreading the virus that gets in
beans.  Does anyone know if chewing insects can spread viruses like sucking
insects do?
    I find it interesting that they have almost entirely avoided the
Cherokee Trail of Tears beans, which I have heard they would.  They have
also left the Chestnut crab untouched.  It's one of the apples entirely free
of CAR too, so I am already enamored, and I haven't even tasted one yet.
    We had hoped that last winters early prolonged freeze had cut the Jap
beetles population like it did in the Dec freeze of 1983.  Plainly it did
not, but the next question is, what happened that favored the grubs?  The
June bugs are having a pretty big year too, but not higher than high
population years we have seen.  I got to thinking that I had not been
cussing moles this year, and that got me to wondering.  Most of our beetles
are coming from a 15 acre hayfield adjoining our property, and if THEIR
moles also got frozen or starved out, we could be in big trouble.  Moles
only "crop" once a year, only 1-5 per litter, so population would recuperate
only slowly.  I realize you all get really cold up north, but these are
Tennessee moles.  They don;t expect the ground to freeze iron hard, esp not
in Dec, and they probably did not have deep enugh tunnels.  With the ground
frozen above, could they have tunneled with noplace to move the dirt to?  We
have a little hand dug pond sbout 2 feet deep for the frogs, and after
things thawed, I found last summers bullfrog lying dead and rotting in it.
No other frogs seem to have been affected, so I assume that bullfrogs
usually go for much deeper ponds because they have less efficient antifreeze
than most.  He could not dig down any deeper when the pond started freezing
because there is a plastic liner.
    How about the rest of you with Japanese beetles, any change in
population?  Have any of you heard of moles killed by winter weather?  Any
comments would be welcome.  Donna


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