Remember a short time ago when I blogged how much I disliked the crows that woke me up every morning with their awful CAW CAW CAW. Well, they still wake me up every morning, but my heart has grown three sizes as of late, at least as it relates to crows. They can caw all they want, because my nature-anger has taken a new direction.
My first encounter with Japanese beetles took place four or five years ago when I discovered them on my raspberry bush. I had listened to my neighbor complain about the beetle — part of the scarab beetle family. Scarab beetles are considered to be sacred in places like Egypt. They aren’t sacred — at least not the arm of the scarab beetle family that includes Japanese beetles — at my house. I would rather worship a squirrel. And you know how I feel about squirrels.
Japanese beetles originate in Japan. Imagine that. But here’s the thing: apparently they don’t do much damage in Japan, at last not according to Wikipedia. And you know Wikipedia is always right. The reason they are fairly harmless in Japan is that there are lots of natural predators that handle things. Not so here. We just got the beetle, not the beetle’s enemies. That doesn’t seem fair.
The first time a Japanese beetle was discovered in the U.S. was way back in 1916, in New Jersey. I wish the Garden State would have just kept them to themselves. Now the little buggers are present in all but nine states. Perhaps just eight, because there was a sighting fairly recently in Wyoming.
Honestly, the little devils are more ubiquitous than Californians. In fact, why don’t they just all move to California?
After I discovered the insects on my raspberry plants a few years ago, I complained about them to my next door neighbor. She told me that they were nonexistent in Colorado until 10 or 15 years ago, when a batch of fancy-dancy trees were delivered to the fancy-dancy Cherry Hills Country Club so the fancy-dancy members wouldn’t get hot playing golf. So I’m blaming my Japanese beetles on John Elway and all of his rich friends. I have to blame someone, right?
Every summer about this time — when I discover my first Japanese beetles dining heartily on one of my favorite plants — I go online to see how I can kill them. Every year, I get the same answer. The best and most effective way to rid your plants of Japanese beetles is to put on a pair of gloves and pick them off the plant, tossing them into a bowl of sudsy water. Ugh.
I was angry yesterday when I checked out my Black-Eyed Susan plant that I planted last fall and saw it was infested with the beetle. I began beating the plant with my purse. #Truth. I haven’t seen that particular advice on any nursery website. And there’s a good reason for this, because not only did it not kill the beetles, but they began flying at me. I felt like the screen door in our house in Columbus on summer nights when the door was open and the lights were on. That wasn’t part of my plan. I ran to the house, and haven’t left since. I’m pretty sure we can get by for a few days on what’s in my pantry. Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and pretzels.
I may borrow my granddaughter Dagny’s beekeeping suit and try again today. If only crows ate Japanese beetles. Sigh.