Friday, June 26, 2009

Bugs Really Bug Me

I looked out the window this evening after working in the garden. I thought I saw black spots, so I closed my eyes to rest them, then reopened them. Black spots. I shook my head (I'm not sure what I hoped to accomplish by that) and then looked again. Black spots. So then I looked more closely, and realized that the leaves of the trees that vine around the upper deck were covered with black spots. And the black spots were moving...and glinting in the sun.

Crap. I know that glint. It's Japanese Beetle time.

I've had run-ins with these buggers before. They are voracious leaf- and fruit-eaters. They nearly destroyed my okra crop a couple of years ago. When they eat, they reduce the leaves of whatever plant they attack to a fine lace and leave other leaves looking like they have been burned by fire. Then they lay their eggs underground, where the grubs overwinter so they can come back and destroy my plants again the next year.

So you can imagine my distress when I saw them, especially with my garden doing so well. I downloaded a couple of documents about getting rid of them. Apparently traps don't work well. My best bet, according to the literature, is to go out in the early morning when they are sluggish and knock them off into a bowl of soapy water. It's too late this year to plant flowers and other vegetation that do not attract the time they matured, the beetles' migration/mating season will be over. I don't want to apply chemicals, so other than the soapy water trick, there's not much I can do. I'll spend time knocking them off tomorrow, and David will spray the trees down with a soapy water mixture. We'll hope that's sufficient. So far, I haven't seen them in the garden, and hopefully they don't like what I've planted so far. Maybe the onions will keep them away.

And trust me, these bugs are "gettin' jiggy wit' it," and in my trees, no less, and in plain sight, where my children (read: kitties) can see them in their pornographic glory!

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