[NAFEX] Japanese Beetle Damage

Kieran and Donna redherring at tnaccess.com
Thu Jul 20 12:10:55 EDT 2006

We heard that the beetles were really bad in some parts of Illinois this year.  I thought how awful for them.  For years they have been able to grow plums, cherries, grapes and apples, and suddenly there is this complete change.  From now on these plants will be stripped annually unless protected.  They hit East Tennessee a few years before we moved there, so basically all the years I have been here they have been a fact of life.  I wouldn't know how to pick a grape if I were to ever see one.  (Oddly enough, the wild muscadines seem to produce, maybe the beetles overlook them way up high in the trees.)    
     I've been told that there are two critical periods in the Jap beetle  life cycle:  when the grubs are near the surface feeding in the fall and in the late spring.  If one or both of those times are very cold or dry, the population can be reduced.  We were dry in the fall and cool in the spring, and we don't have nearly as many beetles as usual.  I go around and knock them off into a bucket with a little water in the bottom, then throw them by handfuls to the chickens and ducks (they have to be wet or they will just fly away). This year I can't even cover the surface of the water with an entire layer of beetles, much less the 2 inch deep layer I can usually collect.  The poor ducklings don't even know what they are missing, but the older hens remember.  When we bought the place, Milky Spore was not available, so I brought dirt from where we lived in east TN and dried and sieved it, figuring that if it took 16 years to protect the place instead of 2 years, that would still be better than nothing. I don't know if it's working, but sometimes I find whitish skinny grubs and put them back in the ground.  
    For those of you on the leading edge of the wave - Japanese beetles are moving westward at about 10 miles a year, the third year is usually the worst.  If you will spend the money on Milky Spore, it is supposed to cut the population by 75% in 2 years, by 96% in 6 years.  We bought the granulated stuff that you can't get anymore, and pitched it as thin and as far as it would go.  At my grandmothers we tossed it on the neighbor's yard as far as we could.  The disease only moves at 5 FEET a year, so it really needs some human help.                         Donna 
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