Subject: Invasion of the Japanese Beetles
Geographic location of the bug: Campbell, Ohio
Time: 07:11 AM EDT
Those of you who are new to this site don’t know that there was a period of time when Daniel would respond to 20 or more identification requests per day. Now Daniel does all he can to avoid working on the computer, preferring instead to work in his gardens. Right now he is working in his inherited homestead in Eastern Ohio where large lawns with no trees or shrubs or flowers are popular with much of the population. Lawns are the breeding grounds for the grubs of the dreaded, invasive Japanese Beetles, which were accidentally introduced to the eastern states in 1917 with imported horticultural specimens. Gardeners’ preferences for exotic plants over native plants will likely never be fully altered, but that matters not with Japanese beetles that feed on over 300 species of plants, many of them native. They have proliferated without any natural enemies and daily, now that it is Beetle Season, Daniel picks beetles by the bucket.
Daniel puts about an inch of water in a plastic bucket and adds a squirt of dish soap. To that he adds a few drops of motor oil. It is best to collect Japanese Beetles early in the morning or at dusk because they are most active and more likely to take flight when disturbed if it is sunny. When they are less active, they tend to drop when disturbed and if the bucket is under them, they drop into the bucket. They die within a few minutes.
It is hard to believe that the first Japanese Beetle of the season was sighted a few short weeks ago on June 16, and that beetle was quickly squashed between Daniel’s fingers. Beetle season is expected to last a few more weeks and many leaves in the garden look, in Pearl’s words, like “lace doilies.”
For new readers, it should be noted that Daniel is against unnecessarily killing most insects, but Invasive Exotic species that have no natural enemies are fair game. Daniel dreads the eventual, inevitable introduction of the Spotted Lanternfly or White Cicada to his garden since they have already been reported from Pittsburgh, a mere 60 miles from Campbell.