It's mid-summer and gardens are alive with not just plants, but (probably) a full-on infestation of the infamous, Japanese Beetle. These inhabit most lawns, gardens and farms east of the Mississippi. An invasive beetle from Japan first found on the East Coast in 1916, these hungry exoskeleton-creatures are here to stay. As with any pest problem, growers have different ways of mitigating this potential damage to cash crops.
Most of us probably don't want harmful chemicals sprayed on our food. However, it is quite tempting to pull the strong stuff off the shelf to hold back this beetle-takeover, as they literally reproduce in front of your eyes. What better way to make sure your food is pesticide-free than to grow it yourself? There has to be a better way to deter these insect pests, without harming your own health in the process.
Rather than spraying your crop with pesticides, these are some Seedsheet-approved alternatives for preventing a Japanese Beetle invasion:
Deter the beetles from chomping away at your garden beds with a bucket, dish soap and water. Fill a bucket halfway with water, put about a tablespoon or two of dish soap into the bucket, and mix. Place this solution near your garden in an area with open airflow. Collect a handful or two of beetles and place them in the soapy-water mixture. As these beetles die and start to decompose, they will give off a scent of "rotting beetle flesh" that will deter other beetles from moving in. The soap in the water masks the odor to the human nose.
Japanese Beetle-bag traps are another option for those with more severe beetle infestations, as well as those who aren’t so keen on handling the pests. Hang the trap from a nearby tree or a small post in your garden. The bags have a lure that draws the beetles into the bag and once they fall in, the insects cannot escape. These traps can be purchased at most garden centers or hardware stores, and last for the entire gardening season.
Take back your garden, and take back control of your food...chemical free!