[nafex] Re: Japanese beetles

Ginda Fisher ginda at concentric.net
Fri Jul 20 22:55:26 EDT 2001

A mild year for beetles, and for grubs in general.  I'm inclined to give
some credit to the milky spore fungus I put down a few years ago, and
some to the Ortho Grub-b-gon I put on the grass last summer (It's
supposed to act by making them molt prematurely, and have low toxicity
to non-beetles, including earthworms, bees, and children.)  Then again,
it might just be luck.  We also had a lot of skunks this spring, which
helps, some.

Ginda Fisher
zone 6, eastern Mass.

Kieran or Donna wrote:
> 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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