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.
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. We 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.
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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