Japanese beetle pretty — pretty destructive

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A co-worker asked me last week whether I had any Japanese beetles in my garden yet. We work at a local news outlet and he was writing a story on how the destructive pest was out in full force in the Green Bay area. I told him I didn’t think so, although in truth, it had been so hot that I hadn’t spent any time near the garden. It was supposed to cool off by the end of the week, so I made a mental note to check then.

Was I in for the shock of my life when I finally decided to check things out Saturday morning. First I picked the peas, and all seemed OK. But when I moved over to the beans, it was clear something had been munching on the leaves. The photos included with this post give you an idea of the damage the beetle does. This is the fifth summer I’ve had a garden, and the first time I remember having Japanese beetles. The strange thing was that I could only find one actual beetle on any of the beans. I removed it from the leaf, killed it and looked for more, but couldn’t find any. And although there wasn’t a huge amount of damage to the bean leaves, it didn’t seem like just one beetle could do all that damage.

It got worse when I moved on to the raspberries — whole sections of leaves were decimated. But I couldn’t find even one beetle on any leaf. It did seem like the beetle liked the new raspberry growth better than the mature shoots — the younger ones seemed to have much more damage.

Fortunately, the dastardly little beetle so far doesn’t seem to have any effect on the actual beans or berries — I picked quite a few of both. And they don’t seem to have gotten into the lettuce or tomatoes — yet. This morning, I did find one on a Cosmos and two more on a bean plant, but that was it. I couldn’t see any on the raspberries or anything else in the garden. A check this afternoon again showed no more beetles.

For now, I don’t plan on buying anything like Neem oil to spray on the beetles. Hopefully, I can keep them in check by just watching for them and picking them off as I find them. If not, I guess I’ll be making a trip to garden store.

8 responses to this post.

  1. […] Japanese beetle pretty – pretty destructive […]

  2. Posted by Jenni on July 28, 2013 at 11:20 am

    I wonder if that’s what is eating my beans – your beans’ damage look mild compared to mine. I was on vacation for 2 1/2 weeks and returned to tons of leaves that looked like swiss cheese!

    • Sounds like that stupid beetle. Did you get beans out of the plants?

      • Posted by Jenni on July 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        Some, but they don’t seem to be that productive right now. I also wonder if the temperatures limit productivity once they reach the 90’s. I haven’t pulled them up yet – still hoping!

  3. We just got them in our garden in Toronto and they have eaten my hollyhocks and pussywillows! I put a coffee can of soapy water out and chuck them in there as I find them. Just when I conquered hollyhock rust!

    • I did the same – have a milk jug filled with soapy water just waitin’ for them. Fortunately I haven’t seen too many more.

  4. I’ve not had a problem with them yet, buy I hear of gardeners planting “catch crops” nearby to entice the beetles onto something tastier — that’s not yield. I don’t know of an effective organic pesticide. Do birds eat them?

    • You’re lucky you’ve not had them. I’m not sure what crop I’d WANT them to eat. Although I know I’m fortunate that the beetle hasn’t seemed to affect yield. I have plenty of beans and raspberries to enjoy. And, I’ve not heard that birds eat them.

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