Picture Snob

Rescue Japanese Beetle Trap for removing Japanese beetles

The zinnias looked beautiful until some Japanese Beetles set up camp on them. Notice their beautiful, metallic green and copper colored bodies and wings. Yup, them slugs got wings now.


They eat in between the veins of leaves, after which a lacy skeleton remains. j_beetle2.jpg

There are several options available to get rid of these pests - powder or spray insecticides, traps and hand picking.

The insecticides work, of course, but now you have chemicals in your garden and possibly on your food. In one study, the half life of a popular one, permethrin, was 17 days. This means that the chemical is still hanging around and not broken down 17 days after you apply it. To read more about permethrin, click here.

Beetle traps are another remedy. beetle_trap.jpgWe use these with success and recommend them highly. Suspend them from your metal bird feeder hooks which are hanging around and not paying any rent all summer long.

Some people say they attract more beetles to your property but as long as you locate the traps 30 ft. away from the plants you are trying to protect, it should be okay. And your neighbors will love you for taking away their Japanese beetles, too. Click here to buy this trap for $6.66 from Amazon.

A third option if you don't have a huge infestation or a big garden, is to hand pick them off the plants. I did this and gave them to the chickens but the chickens just pecked at them and didn't eat them which gave the beetles time to fly right back to the flowers! Old timers will fill a coffee can with a little motor oil or kerosene and drop the beetles in. This kills them instantly and it's a great camp fire starter. No! I didn't say that. Just kidding. Use kindling and don't be so impatient.

How about a container filled 1/2 way with soapy water? A few drops of dish detergent will do the trick. This kills them and you don't have to worry about disposal. GardenSnob staffers pick them off and crush them swiftly with their shoes. This also kills them, adds valuable organic matter to the garden, and gives a distinct level of satisfaction to the do-it-yourselfer.

To read more

Mary Ellen at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 18, 2008

YUCK! The Tobacco Worm Strikes Again

WARNING: This is worm and bug week at GardenSnob. If you are grossed out easily, skip this blog for a few days and read your bank statement or local police blotter instead.

The tobacco worm has reared its ugly head again this summer. And I mean UGLY! This could easily turn a new gardener away from gardening AND tomatoes altogether.


These are some of the largest caterpillars found around here. They have a natural camouflage that would make any soldier envious and a red, pointy horn on one end. It's a little hard to tell which end it is because they seem to have eyes or a little face on both. (I hope no one says that about me, ever.) At some point, these things turn into hummingbird moths

hummingbird_moth.jpg which is the worm version of that old classic, The Ugly Duckling. (Photo: Jim Sedbrook)

The tobacco worm is hard to find even though they are so big because they are the exact same color green as tomato leaves. The best way to find them is to look for their droppings on the ground or on leaves or tomatoes. The droppings look like miniature green (fresh) or black (a few hours old) raspberries and they get bigger as the worm grows.

Thumbnail image for worm_droppings1.jpgworm_droppings2.jpg

Here's the gardener's version of "Where's Waldo" to show you how difficult is it to find these worms. Try to find the worm in this photo:


Here it is, up close and personal:


Let's try another one. Where's Wormy?


That's right! He's biting into another leaf of the tomato plant you've planted, watered and staked with loving care all summer. where's_worm2b.jpgBastards!

Now the question is what to do with a tobacco worm once you've found one. I thought the chickens might like them so offered the first one to them.


But I was wrong. Then a goat stepped on it.

When I found the next tobacco worm, I started to get really mad and increasingly sick to my stomach. A website suggests snipping them in half with shears but there is no way I want to have that green blood on my clippers. Then I noticed the fire pit


and that was the end of that one.

With worm #3, I thought, "I must get revenge!", and a dirty, smelly light bulb went on in my head. To the pig pen!


At first they didn't notice it because I threw it over their heads. Oh, well, if they don't eat it , it will surely die of the stench. But then, oh yes, one of them poked it around with its big pink snout, gobbled it up, and smacked its lips. I am not joking about the lip smacking. And pigs are omnivores. You should have seen them fighting over a dried snake they found in some hay the other day. There certainly was a lot of lip smacking going on over that snake jerky. But, I digress . . .
Afterwards (after the cold beverage to settle my stomach), I felt a little badly about the harsh end for that worm and about all the plants that won't be pollinated by that future hummingbird moth. But worms #4, 5, 6 and 7 have all gone into the pig pen and the pigs now hop around with glee when I approach with a tomato branch and tobacco worm. I'm not joking about the hopping, either.

Mary Ellen at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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