They arrived this past week. The beetles. Japanese beetles. Always hate to see them come around mid-to-late June. These beetles are very hard to kill off. If there are just a few hundred like last year it won’t be too bad this year. Thousands are horrible. But one never knows. When they first arrived this year, they headed straight for the red raspberry bushes. Beetle picking season commenced. I’d much rather go berry picking!
Because I’m trying to only do organic gardening I’ve never used any kind of pesticides in my garden. I’ve tried some organic insecticidal soaps but they don’t seem to affect Japanese beetles. Garlic spray and neem oil haven’t seemed to discourage them either, so I put some dish soap in a glass jar, fill it about half way up with water and head out to pick beetles and place them into my soapy brew. Just before dusk is the best time to pick beetles. They are less active and you can easily slide them off a leaf right into the soap solution. During the day if you approach them they just fly off.
I’ve read that geraniums have quite an effect on Japanese beetles. Supposedly, just thirty minutes after snacking on a geranium plant, the beetles will become paralyzed for up to 24 hours. This makes them vulnerable to predators and also makes them very easy to hand pick. So I may just invest in some geranium plants this year and see what happens! Until then, I will continue beetle picking every evening.