One bug I could live without

The Japanese beetles arrived a few days ago and they are just relentless. Every year I promise myself that I will spend the money and buy the big bag of Milky Spore, and every year I cheap out and do not. (When properly applied, Milky Spore kills the grubs in the lawn that turn into Japanese beetles.)

I've tried the Japanese beetle traps in the past, and while some sources warn that it will attract even more beetles to the yard, I haven't seen a noticeable increase. With that being said, I haven't noticed a sizable decrease in the numbers getting trapped, either.

I think the main problem is that I grow too many plants that Japanese beetles adore. They go out of their way to visit my yard because I grow everything they find delicious.

First course: plum trees. Second, third, fourth: grapes, strawberries, roses. (Apparently my neighbor's oak tree also has ambrosial effects on the several pairs of mating beetles. It's borderline appaling. Get a room, guys.)

The only thing that I've found to actually work is getting a (disposable) cup and filling it with dish soap. The more suds, the better. Then I go out and try to knock them off the leaves and into the cup. The soap bubbles help keep them underwater long enough so they drown. (A tragic little death. I can't say I feel too badly, because my plum tree almost had it's own tragic little death last year with a borer infestation and the beetles.)

It's best to go out in the morning to knock them off. They don't move as quickly in the early hours, as opposed to late afternoon where they all ricochet off the tree when I try to give a branch a little shake.

Usually the neighbors see me do a little screechy dance while I try to avoid the beetles flying onto me. I am a nature girl, but deep down, I don't want the bugs to touch me.


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