On the Bug vs. People nuisance chart, things are looking pretty good here. Black flies departed on Father’s Day as usual, mosquitoes arrived shortly thereafter, and annoying mayflies followed mosquitoes. Whew!
All those flying biting insect numbers are dwindling and being replaced by garden pests, but not many yet….except for a few of the most gargantuan slugs I’ve EVER seen! They look more like small snakes after our wet spring!
It’s the scarab beetles that I am keeping an eye on in the garden. I’ve only seen only one Japanese beetle that are emerging from the soil right about now, but I’ve seen a dozen or more of their cousins in the garden, the oriental beetles (Exomala orientalis) feeding mainly on the daisies and lady’s mantle. They are not voracious feeders but they do enough damage elsewhere.
It’s the lawn that takes a hit from these beetles. Just like the Japanese beetle, the larval stage feeds on the root zone of the turf grasses. I’ve yet to know whether I have a real problem, but since I am committed to Integrated pest management (IPM) instead of chemical management in combating pests, I’ve looked for alternatives that don’t affect good insects…. butterflies, bees, etc.
Treatment is tricky because it varies depending on the species of grub. According to the Conn.gov website, bacterial spores can kill this variety of grub but our NE soil can be too cold to sustain the bacteria. Nematodes, microscopic worms that live in the soil, can infect and kill grubs but it’s tricky to keep them alive and tricky to apply the worms under the right conditions. Milky Spore targets only the Japanese beetle species of grub, according to UConn… in the state where the first siting of the beetle occurred in 1920.
The best option for treatment just may be sex pheromone traps that capture only the Oriental beetle male, unlike the Japanese beetle traps that unfortunately attract both male and female Japanese beetles. I found one lone online company selling the pheromone cards I would need…. traps sold separately. I may not have a real problem but at least I have a place to order if it actually comes down to man vs. beetle.