Sunday, June 20, 2010

What's Buggin' You? Organic Pest Control Part 1

It is Japanese Beetle season and we spotted the first few at the nursery this week.
Anyone battling these invasive defoliators should use a multi-pronged attack:

1. Set up Japanese Beetle traps. Place the traps 15' to 25' away from the plants you are trying to protect (some of their favorites include roses, holly hocks, and birch trees).

We have often heard the argument that the traps lure more Japanese beetles over to your yard and do more harm than good.

And here's our argument - If the lures inside the traps are doing their jobs, than they are luring beetles to the trap. The beetles slip down the sides of the slippery bag and die. (Just place the traps 15' to 25' AWAY from the plants you wish to protect, as well as using a repellent on targeted plants.

Any Japanese beetle allowed to live (even in your neighbor's yard), will reproduce and there will be even more of these damaging bugs back next year.

2. Spray an organic repellent on the plants you wish to protect.

Cover up the sweet smell of your roses! You can get a two-for by using the Garlic-y smelling Deer Defeat product (made right here in the Hudson Valley). Spray deer defeat right on the open blooms.

3. Use Beneficial Nematodes or Milky Spore on your lawn to kill Japanese Beetle Larvae before they hatch into damaging adult Japanese beetles.

This is really the long term step that everyone should be taking. Talk to your neighbors and coordinate your applications, because these grub fighting treatments will stay in your soil diminishing the Japanese Beetle population for years to come.

Beneficial Nematodes kill soil-dwelling and boring insects such as grubs, beetles, weevils, maggots, cutworms, cucumber and squash beetles, flea larvae, fire ants, and more. Beneficial nematodes do not affect humans, animals, plants and are compatible with beneficial insects such as lady bugs, lacewings, praying mantids and earthworms.

St. Gabriel Laboratories' Milky Spore is a naturally occurring host specific bacterium (Bacillus popillae-Dutky). Milky Spore is applied to the lawn, and within the next 7-21 days will eventually die. As the grub decomposes, it releases billions of new spores.

Milky Spore is not harmful to beneficial insects, birds, bees, pets or man. The product is approved and registered with EPA, Milky Spore will not affect wells, ponds or streams.

The ideal way to combat area infestation is through organized community efforts. Large areas treated with Milky Spore can result in long term control. So talk to your neighbors and try to coordinate your efforts.

If you've taken all the procautionary steps and you still walk out to your garden to find a beloved plant covered with adult Japanese beetles...

4. Knock them off into a cup of soapy water and drown them. They are slower moving and easier to catch this way early in the morning and later in the evening. The cooler air makes them more lethargic.

5. Don't be discouraged if you lose a battle or two, keep taking organic, preventative steps to diminish the entire population and you may win the war.
What's Buggin' You? Organic Pest Control Part 1

What's Buggin' You? Organic Pest Control Part 2

What's Buggin' You? Organic Pest Control Part 3

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