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Japanese Beetles on my Blackberries  RSS feed

 
Jayden Thompson
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Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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I have Japanese beatles on my Triple Crown Thornless Blackberries.  I'm guessing I've got a good 20 pounds or more of blackberries that are just starting to ripen, and last year the Japanese beatles were all over them before I could harvest and I lost almost all of them.

Now the berries are starting to turn ripe, and I see the beatles all over the leaves.  I want to get them out of there before the berries ripen, and obviously I want to do it naturally and/or organically.  What can I do right now to save my berries?
 
John Saltveit
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You could make a rock pile in the morning sun to attract snakes or other reptiles.  Try to think about what would eat Japanese beetles.  Or you could take a road trip out west with your hippest friends, Daddy-0.
John S
PDX OR
 
John Wolfram
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Covering the blackberries with netting would probably be your best best if you want a reasonable amount of protection. I've tried most of the spectrum of things for fighting the beetles from companion planting to the toxic-ist of gick, and the Japanese Beetles are un-phased by most of it.
 
Jayden Thompson
Posts: 120
Location: Danville, KY (Zone 6b)
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I've heard up setting up a drop cloth at night, then shaking the plants in the morning so the beetles will fall to the ground.  Then you can dunk the drop cloth in soapy water to ensure they don't come back.  Has anyone tried this?

I was thinking to try this technique, but feed them to my chickens instead. 
 
John Wolfram
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Dean Moriarty wrote:I've heard up setting up a drop cloth at night, then shaking the plants in the morning so the beetles will fall to the ground.  Then you can dunk the drop cloth in soapy water to ensure they don't come back.  Has anyone tried this?

A few years ago when my trees were smaller, I would shake the beetles off the tree, into a net, and then crush them. By the time I had finished with the 50th or so tree, the first few trees would already be covered again with Japanese Beetles.

Any chance you could let the chickens loose on your blackberries with them eating all the blackberries or destroying the bushes?
 
Carl Trotz
Posts: 16
Location: Upstate New York
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I've had some success with planting tansy around my plum saplings, which had previously been completely defoliated.  Tansy can be aggressive, though.  I know the plum trees will eventually shade them.  But tansy versus blackberries?  I don't know.  It might be worth experimenting.  Or you could try cutting tansy elsewhere, and strewing it over the canes during peak beetle season.

As for the beetles, I shake them into a bucket that has a few inches of water (because they can't fly away while they're swimming), then pour it all into a dog bowl for the chickens.  They love it, it's like they're bobbing for apples.
 
Jamie Davis
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Wasps are natural predator to the beetles. But wasps can making picking thornleas berries painful.
 
Cristo Balete
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Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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I use a large yogurt container half filled with water, than a layer of cooking oil, then a squirt of dish soap.  I walk around in the morning and afternoon (since I'm harvesting other things anyway) when they start being most active and knock them manually into the container.  I swirl it on occasion to make sure they stay in the liquid.   I put the lid back on it when I'm done and leave it sitting in the sun.  I'll use that container until it's just too full.

It's important to start as early in the spring as you spot them.  I've been doing this for 5 years, and every year there are fewer and fewer of them, not enough now to cause a lot of damage.  The weather in years to come may change this, but in the big picture I don't have nearly as many as when I didn't do this.   I think the birds and hornets do way more damage, so get some sheer curtains to put over the berries (so they will flap in the wind)  to stop the birds.
 
John Saltveit
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Jamie,
I don't understand. Why would wasps making picking thornless berries more painful than thorny berry plants?
Thanks,
John S
PDX OR
 
Alex Riddles
Posts: 38
Location: Columbia Missouri
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Around here we trap them.  The local garden shops carry traps that are made of a hanging plastic bag with a funnel in the top. On top of that there is a small canister of food and pheromone scents.  I hung 2 of them 3 days ago and have collected about a gallon of beetles.  In my experience the problem is reduced for several years because the pheromones attract the breeding population.  To help with the trapping I shake my apple and plum trees several times a day.  Hopefully once the Beetles are flying around they will find the trap.  Even with the traps I am still experiencing some damage.

Japanese beetles are suseptable to milky spores during their larval stage.  I looked into this several years ago when they first arrived in my area.  I didn't think it was practical in my circumstances since you need to treat each square foot of soil.  If they keep getting worse over the years I may reconsider this.
 
Jamie Davis
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John Saltveit wrote:Jamie,
I don't understand. Why would wasps making picking thornless berries more painful than thorny berry plants?
Thanks,
John S
PDX OR


John,

I was merely attempting to humorously draw attention to the fact that hornets do  occasionally sting, which hurts more than,picking thornless berries.
 
John Saltveit
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GOt it. Sorry, I was a little slow on that one.
John S
PDX OR
 
Joseph Fields
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Location: Berea, Kentucky
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D.E. works for me. Just take care not to get it on the blossoms or you will murder all your insect pollinators.
 
John Alabarr
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What I do is buy those Japanese beetle traps and take the beetle lure out and put them in my chicken cage.  The beetles are attracted to the lure in the chicken cages and then get eaten by the chickens.
 
carol wilson
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John Wolfram wrote:Covering the blackberries with netting would probably be your best best if you want a reasonable amount of protection. I've tried most of the spectrum of things for fighting the beetles from companion planting to the toxic-ist of gick, and the Japanese Beetles are un-phased by most of it.


Our netting only protects our berries from birds, which is great, but the beetles are still a problem, because they can crawl through the holes.

Last year we put the beetles into containers of soapy water.  This year I will be spraying with Neem Oil and possibly sprinkling with DE and thinking of applying Milky Spore for next year.
 
Alex Riddles
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Location: Columbia Missouri
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Suddenly  I have swarms of Japanese Beetles.  I think I made a huge mistake last summer.  I had several  traps out and caught a lot of beetles.  I emptied the traps into a bucket put a lid on it and left it in the sun.  When I opened the bucket the beetles were dead and smelled like ammonia.   "Ammonia"  I thought that's a good source of Nitrogen.  I'll put it in the compost bin.  My compost has not been  getting as hot as it used to.  So, some extra Nitrogen should help.  Right? 

Well,  maybe not.  I realize now that the city water supply contains chloramine and was poisoning the bacteria in my compost.  The pile wasn't hot enough to kill the eggs and I spread them in my gardens this spring.  At least that is my current working theory.  So, I'm  adding vitamin C to a bucket of water and letting it sit for several days before adding it to the compost.  It's too early to know if I have fixed that problem.  I'm currently looking for a rain barrel as a long term solution.

In the mean time, does anyone have advice on how to dispose of dead Japanese  Beetles?
 
Justyn Mavis
Posts: 30
Location: FEMA District III
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Alex Riddles wrote:Around here we trap them.  The local garden shops carry traps that are made of a hanging plastic bag with a funnel in the top. On top of that there is a small canister of food and pheromone scents.  I hung 2 of them 3 days ago and have collected about a gallon of beetles.  In my experience the problem is reduced for several years because the pheromones attract the breeding population.  To help with the trapping I shake my apple and plum trees several times a day.  Hopefully once the Beetles are flying around they will find the trap.  Even with the traps I am still experiencing some damage.

Japanese beetles are suseptable to milky spores during their larval stage.  I looked into this several years ago when they first arrived in my area.  I didn't think it was practical in my circumstances since you need to treat each square foot of soil.  If they keep getting worse over the years I may reconsider this.


Pheromones attract beetles. So in my experience here in Appalachia all those bag do is attract beetles to your neighbors yard. ( Some bugs are lazy and don't make it all the way to the canister)

Here is what I've done.

Early years of my fruit forest.
Before my fruit trees were tall, I would make a 50/50 spray of 100+ proof moonshine and water. In the early morning on a dry day I would mist my berry bushes.

Middle years
I stop pulling the weeds that lived around my berry bushes, I added ducks and guineas to my spot. I dug a few swales to change the temperature which also added a small breeze. On the edges I added Sunchokes and didn't prune the tree on the lower end near the berry bushes.

Currently
I went to the otherside of the yard and also planted the plants the beetles seem to like more then the berry bushes. Still do everything from middle years, and on extreme cases I do early year tactics. (Which I hardly ever have to do)

Side Note: I have thought about getting some of those bags to harvest some easy free bugs for my chickens, but I think I'd rather not mess with my balance right now.

Cheers

-Justyn
 
Justyn Mavis
Posts: 30
Location: FEMA District III
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Alex Riddles wrote:Suddenly  I have swarms of Japanese Beetles.  I think I made a huge mistake last summer.  I had several  traps out and caught a lot of beetles.  I emptied the traps into a bucket put a lid on it and left it in the sun.  When I opened the bucket the beetles were dead and smelled like ammonia.   "Ammonia"  I thought that's a good source of Nitrogen.  I'll put it in the compost bin.  My compost has not been  getting as hot as it used to.  So, some extra Nitrogen should help.  Right? 

Well,  maybe not.  I realize now that the city water supply contains chloramine and was poisoning the bacteria in my compost.  The pile wasn't hot enough to kill the eggs and I spread them in my gardens this spring.  At least that is my current working theory.  So, I'm  adding vitamin C to a bucket of water and letting it sit for several days before adding it to the compost.  It's too early to know if I have fixed that problem.  I'm currently looking for a rain barrel as a long term solution.

In the mean time, does anyone have advice on how to dispose of dead Japanese  Beetles?


Ducks and Chickens.

Also...

Japanese beetles are very high in protein content and as much as 40% of their body weight may be composed of protein. Because of this, they may be substituted for meat when cooking.

In fact, the World Health Organization has estimated that insects such as the Japanese beetle could supply much of the world with its needed protein content because of its plentiful in this and cheap cost.


Add them to your salad. Honestly, not as bad as you may think. Like bacon bits.

-Justyn
 
Casie Becker
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We have high populations of June Bugs and Chaffer beetles, which are closely related. We weren't purposely combating them, but after we sprayed beneficial nematodes I've seen a lot less in our yard. The larval stage of the beetles are preyed on by the nematodes. 

As it's only half an acre an our neighbors weren't treating them, it might not be related. A record drought finally broke around the same time, so there's a lot of other factors that could have been responsible. They're my go to solution for pest problems that don't need an instant solution and maybe I'm just someone with a big hammer looking for a nail.
 
Sonja Hauter
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Location: Saint Paul, United States
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There is netting available that will keep out Japanese beetles.  It's called "large insect netting" and the spacing is 1/6 inch.  You can get it from Industrial Netting in Minneapolis.  http://www.industrialnetting.com/applications/lawn-garden/beetle-netting.html. They will cut it to whatever length you want; I got 50' this year to try on my vulnerable shrubs and plants.  I know it's only rhubarb, but it's MY rhubarb, dammit!
 
William Lee
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I have several Blackberry plants and a june bug/japanese beetle issue and I use the dish soap/water container and hand swat/push the bugs into it as described previously.I got on this asap and I seem to have caught very many juveniles trying to mate this last week and they seem to go to the same places. I find them to be very manageable.  6/15 seem to start-in my zone 7b west of Charlotte-didn't see any today 6/24.
 
Tj Jefferson
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Sorry thumb typing so maybe a little rough...
I used traps last year with pheremones and emptied into a plastic garbage bag with some alcohol in it. It is so hot in summer the alcohol vapors kill them quickly. then I buried them in an area I found white moldy stuff which I am pretty sure was milky spore. This summer I have been able to dig some of the milky spore out and seed other areas, where I am burying the bugs this summer.

The milky spore seems to need really rich organic matter, but I think this is a path to sustainable reduction. Maybe 1/3 the beetles from last year...
 
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