In the Spring, Lissa planted a food hedge. There were blueberries, chokeberries and autumn berries. Early on, she’d some trouble with deer, but erecting cages around each plant fixed that problem. Soon everything grew to be green and lush. The hedge was looking beautiful.
That is, until the Japanese beetles came around.
Lissa never saw them during the day. She only saw evidence of their destruction. Her beautiful choke berry leaves were riddled with teeny tiny holes until they turned brown and looked like a ghost of a leaf.
Lissa had four chokeberry bushes and, strangely, the beetles only attacked one. Not one tiny hole could be seen on the other three, nor on the blueberries or autumn olive. What was it about this one bush that was so appealing to these little pests?
Researching, she found a recipe for a red pepper spray that was said to deter them. She made it and sprayed all of the chokeberry bushes with it. But, the spray only seemed to draw more of them to the plant and make them destroy the leaves even faster.
Frustrated, Lissa found another method of vanquishing the villains once and for all. Under cover of darkness, Lissa snuck out to the hedge and tiptoed to the chokeberry bush they so enjoyed eating. She turned the small flashlight she had brought with her on and tentatively shined it on the plant.
Her eyes widened, her heart thudded and her hand went to her mouth. The poor plant was covered in shiny black beetles, fat off the nutrients from the leaves of the plant. They were barely moving and their little bodies were swollen and looked ready to burst.
With her jaw set, Lissa slowly unscrewed the cap on the container she had brought holding her secret weapon. Dishwater…poison to these horrid insects. Her weapon of destruction was a toothbrush. She carefully and silently held the container holding the beetle poison under each leaf and swept the beetles in…drowning them instantly.
The beetle battle lasted twenty minutes or more. Lissa lost track of time as she scraped the bugs off with relish, confident she would win this beetle battle.
When she was finished and all of the beetles were floating in the dishwater, Lissa screwed the cap back on her bottle and smiled to herself as she walked back to the house. Thinking to herself, “When Lissa battles beetles with a bottle and a toothbrush, they call this a human beetle bottle battle…I have got to read something besides Fox in Socks at bedtime.“
But off in the distance, the faint cries of orphaned beetle babiies could be heard, their inconsolable sobs building into a rhythm akin to a drumbeat, foreshadowing vengeance, and a bigger battle to come!
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