They’re Back…

While wandering through the garden yesterday, I noticed that the volunteer squash leaves were looking a little droopy. Upon looking closer, I noticed that there were holes in the leaves. I looked at the Jerusalem artichoke and saw something that made my stomach drop.

The Japanese beetle.

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Droopy, yellowing squash leaves

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These ants are on the artichoke cleaning up after the beetles. They are attracted to the ‘scent’ the beetles leave behind after munching on the leaves.

The destruction these beetles caused last year still haunts me. Our attack plan, while satisfying and effective at ridding the gardens of these pests, was more defense than offense; and, while we didn’t lose any plants to the beasts of destruction, we did lose a lot of production and growth.

After we saw the beetles on the squash and artichokes, we picked them off and fed them to the chickens and then wandered around to see where else they had infiltrated.

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In the kitchen garden they were all over the borage. I smiled at this, actually smiled because it told me that the borage was doing it’s job as a trap crop! Sure, it’s beautiful and edible, but that is not the main reason we planted it. We planted it to trap evil sprites like the Japanese beetle and keep them from destroying our produce.

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Japanese beetle feasting on the borage

Out in the swale, the beetles were tearing up the weeds, but that is preferable to them being all over our gardens. There were one or two in the fedge, on the aronia of course, and a couple in the vineyard.

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Newly installed bean trellis – beetle free

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Vineyard – Hops

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Beetle-free blackberries in the fedge

And so, armed with the bug vacuum and my trusty bug hunter at my side, we will be patrolling the gardens a couple of times a day, sucking up these nuisances and feeding them to the chickens.

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The beetle battle
Again we face this villain
Armed with dust busters bug vacuums

2 responses to “They’re Back…

  1. Pingback: Gross! A Haiku | a pinch of homestead

  2. Pingback: Garden 2015: Initial Plans | a pinch of homestead

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