[NAFEX] Japanese Beetles

nottke1 nottke1 at earthlink.net
Sun Aug 3 06:35:02 EDT 2008

For those of you suffering through a plague of Japanese Beetles, I offer you HOPE, but no RECIPE, for their disappearance.
I have been here west of Winston-Salem, NC, for 12 years.  The Japanese Beetle (JB) population was high when I arrived, congregating mostly on wild cherry, grape, hydrangea, and roses.  Over the next few years I planted plums, peaches, apples, raspberries, blackberries, and more grapes.  For about three years I had to spray Sevin about three times between late June and mid-August to avoid compete defoliation of plums, new grapes, and raspberries.  Then about 2003 the JB population eased a bit, and the population of Assassin Bug (Arilus cristatus) built up - and I would place any early season Assassin Bugs that I encountered onto the hydrangeas, where I avoided spraying Sevin because they were in with so many other flowers.  The Assassin Bugs prefer JB and by late July the ground under one large Oakleaf Hydrangea was paved with JB shells, while five or six Assassin Bugs roamed the large bush looking for more.  [Handle Assassin Bugs with care - their lancet will go right through a finger.]  We reached a tolerable JB equilibrium until last year, when I won the war without knowing why.
In 2007 the JB started to appear in mid-June as usual, but by mid-July the population was steep decline.  This year I have counted 4 Japanese Beetles on our property, but I do not know why they have disappeared!  I have avoided commenting earlier because I feared the just after I hit the SEND button, they would all emerge at once. 
Was it last year's record heat and almost record drought?
I live on a 100 acre farm and we use only the minimum pesticides needed to grow corn and soybeans, well away from the yard.
The Imidan sprays on the orchard trees are done only at first pink and petal fall, six weeks before JB start to emerge.
BTW I have only found a few Assassin Bugs this year as well.
Was it normal population "boom and bust"?  If so, what caused it, and will they rebound?

Any and all comments welcomed.
Jim Nottke

Jim Nottke
Pfafftown, NC

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