[nafex] Japanese beetles

Joe and Ellen Hecksel jhecksel at voyager.net
Mon Jul 30 20:46:47 EDT 2001

Hello all:

Just a few random observations regarding Japanese beetles.  Please
forgive me if I missed a post and end up repeating advice that has
already been given.

I have grapes.  Grapes are magnets for Japanese beetles.  Far and a way
the majority of the population is in the top third of the canopy, with a
slight bias for the east side.  It is not necessary to saturate the
entire canopy of grapes to knock out 95% of the beetles.  Japanese
beetles are an easy kill.  You can see where they are concentrated. 
They feed on the sprayed leaves so you are not counting on the feet pads
being the only path into their body.

Wine growing fanatics go into the vineyard at this time of year and
strip leaves from the canes in the immediate vicinity of the clusters. 
Stripping leaves enhances air flow and sun penetration.  The goal is to
minimize cluster rots and speed ripening.  Japanese beetle feeding
achieves much the same effect if numbers are controlled.  Heck, they do
such a good job that some enterprising nurseryman will rename the
*French* beetles and start charging money for them.

I used to think that some of my cultivars were resistant or unattractive
to Japanese beetles.  I know believe that which ever vines the first
beetles land on (by complete chance) are the ones that become most
ravaged by the beetles.  It is pretty clear that the first beetles emit
pheromones that attract more beetles, that emit more pheromones..... a
classic positive feedback loop.  Some vines by virtue of location are
more likely to get nailed first.  They are just closer to the origin of
the beetles.

The traps sell out early.  I had fantasies of nailing a couple of them
to my neighbor's dock and feeding his largemouth bass and bluegills. 
Has anybody tried this?

The key controlling Japanese beetles seems to be frequent spraying of
the top third of the canopy.

                                            -Joe Hecksel
                                             Eaton Rapids, Michigan

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