Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Destructive Little Buggers

I'm sorry that I've been slacking off of blogging lately.  There's just been so much of nothing going on that I can't seem to focus.  I hate posting drivel just for the sake of posting--so I choose not to post at all.  :-)

We have a new enemy to contend with here at this new homestead...

The Japanese Beetle
On a wild grape leaf

On my lime basil!!!
I've read that they love basil.  :-(

On my catnip!!!

On the Elm tree.
Can you see all the holes in the leaves?
They can skeletonize leaves in no time!

We noticed them last year when we first moved here, but since we didn't have a garden at the time we didn't pay much attention.  We were too busy trying to move everything, getting settled into the new place and trying to recover emotionally. 

We did not have these back at the old homestead!!

Honestly though, these guys are beautiful.  My pictures don't capture their iridescence properly at all.  Their wings are a beautiful metallic copper color and they have a green iridescent body and head.  When I first saw them my brain immediately popped out the word "scarab" (my brain has a habit of filing away names for things so that they just pop into my thoughts when I look at things.  Many times I'll drive down the road and notice flowers and my brain pops out the name for them--sometimes even their Latin names!--because I've browsed so many flower catalogs!!  It's rather weird.  So somewhere along the line I've seen this bug or something similar.).  Sure enough this is a scarab type of beetle (who's seen The Mummy?). 

They are an agricultural pest and enjoy munching on... well, just about everything.  Sigh.  For now I am picking them off by hand and tossing them into a gallon size ice cream bucket filled with soapy water.  It's brutal, but I don't want to lose my beloved plants!!  The long term goal is to buy some Milky Spore powder to spread all over the property (our side and DH's parent's side too) at the optimal time in August or so.  It kills the larval grubs and is effective for many years!!  It's harmless safe for everyone/everything--except Japanese Beetles.  Yes!!

This morning when I was out and about fairly early I could hear what almost sounded like rain falling all around me.  Almost.  It was a little different because it had more of a "tink"ing noise to it.  And sometimes there were little plunking sounds like something hitting the ground that was bigger.  Upon investigation I discovered a bunch of the Japanese Beetles laying all around (the "plunk"ing sound--of them falling) and also a whole lot of little black "pellets" the size of large grains of sand (the "tink"ing sound) .  The more I looked around, the more I saw.  Especially under the Elm tree.  Wow!!  The Japanese Beetles were mostly laying on their backs and flailing their legs about.  Later on I went out with my camera but the beetles were gone.  The little black pellets were still there of course...
(A piece of old white panelling laying under the elm tree)
I'm guessing beetle poo! 

Last summer I did notice the "tink"ing sound but it was under the Sycamore trees as we walked down the driveway--especially early in the morning.  I remember making a mental note of this.  Also I found a few dead Japanese Beetles and kept them because they were so pretty.  Oh the irony.  ;-)

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