How to thwart Japanese beetles
Wednesday October 21st 2015, 10:32 pm
Filed under: Family,Garden,Life

It got down to the 40s last night and it will tonight, too; it was time. I restrung the Christmas lights on the mango tree (I’ll clearly need another strand this year) and had to remember how to program Richard’s homemade thermostat. 13C is a little low–I changed it to trigger on at 14C, not sure if the line was connected all the way given the tomatoes growing over it.

They clicked on about 9:00 pm. Okay, that works. No cover quite yet.

Meantime, the Meyer lemon leaves were showing a bit of yellow and needed some micronutrients; I stopped by Yamagami’s Nursery.

Where I found myself in a conversation with one of their people and he was an avid fruit tree enthusiast so of course we hit it right off.

I described the bugs that had utterly devoured my sour cherry’s first attempt at leafing out, that I had caught in the act on the second round, just a giant horde of black beetles, so many that they were climbing all over each other in their attempts to get at those leaves and I asked if they were Japanese beetles?

“Sure sounds like it. They only come out at night.”


(I had read that traps just attract more to your yard, so I wasn’t surprised when he said) “And nothing kills them. There’s really nothing you can do.”

In happy anticipation of being able to help, I grinned, “Oh yes there is”–and I told him what I’d done. Having found a suggestion online, I’d asked around for the ashes from anyone’s barbecue grill, was given about a half gallon’s worth, and I went out that night and doused those beetles with that powder.

They struggled and fell off immediately and died, and according to what I’d read, it breaks their joints. Very satisfying. As was watching the doves pecking around near the base of the tree later. Git’em!

And then, what I didn’t say to him but should have, was, I then scattered those ashes across those leaves every night and rinsed them off in the mornings so that they could get their sunlight. Back on at night as a protective layer. And it worked.

He had this excited ‘Wait till I tell Nancy…!’ look in his eyes. And I came away feeling like I had just solved a big problem for a whole lot of people. Spread the word. Grill baby grill! I wish I could put the real credit where it belongs but I don’t remember where I found it; I do remember I spent a fair amount of time trying to look up an answer to that very vexatious problem, so afraid I was going to lose that tree, so I’m hoping this post will help the next person find the idea a little faster.

Ashes for crashes, grill dust is a must.

3 Comments so far
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And there’s the pun! I miss Don…

Comment by Pegi 10.22.15 @ 2:10 am

My Italian grandfather used to soak the ends of his used stinky cigars in a pail of water for a few days and then he put the strained water into a spray bottle and sprayed his beautiful rose bushes. He never had a Japanese beetle problem. Although the neighbors did.

Comment by Jody 10.22.15 @ 5:43 am

I so love this post!

Thank you for sharing this wonderful adventure with us.

Comment by Suzanne from Montreal 10.22.15 @ 5:09 pm

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