Monday, July 11, 2011

The Beetles Are Coming!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Already 62° and 98% humidity. Windless and the day already suggests how tired we will feel by nightfall. Late afternoon t-storms were predicted last night and there's little doubt about it as evidenced by the building clouds to the east over Peacham Pond. I need to get to the nursery soon as the water lines need to be relocated in the river and the daylilies need to be sprayed for Tarnished Plant Bugs.

2011 has been a year that started poorly and continues to offer challenges equally as big as the lack of traffic. Alex and I went to Burlington yesterday and yes it was a Sunday but traffic was minimal and a big garden center in Williston had maybe 25 cars in the lot at 1:30 PM. A similar scarcity of customer count was obvious at another garden center in Montpelier where less than a dozen cars dotted the whole lot when we went through at 2 PM. Not good.

Someone on Facebook shared this link from the University of Kentucky on Japanese Beetles. It's worth a look-see. Reports are coming in at the nursery that the beetles are beginning to appear in large numbers. They seem a week later than usual but the number of beetles I have noticed in soil samples is not good. The UK article lists chemicals and also NEEM but trying to eliminate beetles, any beetles, is difficult because they have been sprayed for years and years. For me, milky spore has always been the best biological control although I have to say the price has become as scary as the beetles. Despite what many garden centers try to do, do not purchase a trap as beetle traps lure in more beetles than they will ever catch. In rural areas the trap bags lure in black bears as well as the beetles....two problems for the price of one! In my mind, beetle traps that started with the Japanese beetle traps and have been joined by rose chaffer traps and other beetle traps represent one of America's most successful marketing ploys. As for eliminating your beetle problem, however, they only exacerbate it.

There are pros and cons about tilling your soil this time of year but since the beetles are about ready to exit the soil, tilling right now will place the not-quite-mature beetles on the top of the soil where the sun can dehydrate them and birds can eat them. You have to weigh the balance but it's something you might consider. For me right now, it's off to the nursery to get the foot valve under water.

Daylilies are coming into bloom in larger numbers and we have some great varieties for you to look at this season. Come visit! We'll help you grow your green thumb!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where Mrs. Doe Deer just entered the field I cut last week. Still no sign of her kids.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm

1 comment:

Sissy said...

Greenhouse magazine reports that most IGC tracked higher volume and sales in 2011 than 2010. I would have to disagree. Although some weekends were strong, the entire year was sub-par and certainly sub 2009!