Saturday, August 2, 2008

Making Eggs out of Japanese Beetles

This time of year there are so many Japanese Beetles!
Too many Japanese Beetles

They love my fruit trees and are really decimating the plum trees in particular.
Not a lot of photosynthesis happening here

This afternoon I went out and collected the Japanese Beetles in a plastic container. Their defense mechanism is to drop out of the tree when you go near them. Once they hit the ground they either lay on their backs and blend into the background, or burrow into the dirt. Either way, they're hard to recapture. If you position the container under them, you can often catch them as they fall. It also helps to collect them when they are least active: in the morning or at dusk, or in rainy weather.

Put a leaf in with the beetles and they won't even try to escape.
They're happy as clams as long as you give them a leaf

Then, my favorite part: carefully pour them out in the chicken yard:
In the chicken yard

The chickens come running and the beetles are gone before they even consider flying away. Chickens are generally not very smart, but they can spot a Japanese Beetle in tall grass with one single beady eye. No Japanese Beetles escape.
In 17 seconds, they were all gone

The beetles reappear in the morning as fresh eggs. I'm not sure this is the most effective treatment, but it is satisfying.

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