Prior to this year, I never considered Japanese beetles to be a major hazard to my garden. There would be a few stragglers every year but nothing to write home about except as a footnote, and I was always able to swat them between the soles of my flip flops and carry on. This year, though, all of that changed.
Why did it change? I don't really know. Several people have mentioned that the number of bugs seems to be up this year, which would be a factor. The grapevines that I planted last year fruited, which would have put out a scent for the beetles to hone in on, and I have three milkweed plants flowering in my back yard, as well. When I add in the blueberry patch, raspberries, peonies, hollyhocks, and black-eyed-Susans, I can see where my yard more closely resembles a cornucopia to the discerning Japanese beetle and all of his friends and distant relatives. Strangely, I think that one of the biggest attractions was my privacy fence; it was filling in for the town brothel in beetle land. There was more sex and posturing on that fence than I think my town has seen in a year.
The SPECTRACIDE® BAG-A-BUG® JAPANESE BEETLE TRAP2 has been on the market for several years. I haven't purchased any prior to this year because I fell into believing the rumor that if I put them up, I'll just attract more beetles to my yard. Last Sunday, though, that was no longer a consideration. I had a swarming mass of beetles flying into my yard from the west in numbers unimaginable. With the sheer quantity of bugs moving in and setting up nurseries, it seemed like the chance of attracting more was irrelevant. I found two traps and some replacement bags at the local small town grocery and set them up. With the results I've achieved, I don't know why everyone isn't using them. Whomever started that rumor needs to be chastised for spreading fake news.
Within ten minutes of setting up the two bags I had at least 20 beetles in each one. Twenty-four hours later I had a writhing mass at least one inch in diameter waiting to be sealed up and thrown into the trash can. I have replaced the bags every night, you get two with each set up and the replacement bags are six to a box, and every night I had the same amount of beetles as the first. Looking at them like gumballs in a jar, there were likely close to a hundred beetles in each bag, so that's 200 dead beetles every day since Sunday. If all of my neighbors had bags set up we would be talking thousands of beetles every day who were removed from the mating pool, thus decreasing the number of beetles for next year. If the entire country set up these traps, we could effectively eradicate these beetles in just a few years. There are several bird and insect species that prey on the beetles, and there are parasitic wasps that lay eggs in the larva, but these natural predators aren't enough. It's time for humans to step up to the plate.
The best part of setting up the traps is that the number of beetles on my plants has dropped to almost zero. I am going to have to figure out what to do for the milkweed, those flowers are potent, but the rest of my plants are virtually beetle free.
I highly recommend SPECTRACIDE® BAG-A-BUG® JAPANESE BEETLE TRAP2 for everyone. Let's get these bugs eradicated!