Japanese Beetles


Gardners are well aware of the difficulties these unwelcome intruders offer. Out on the homestead they appear to relish in stripping down a very select crop of cherished plants.

On the property we have wild roses that were purportedly brought from the east by the ancestors, and have grown here ever since. I picture them hauling rose seedlings in burlap sacks in the back of a Conestoga wagon. I also picture John Foulk periodically swearing in German as he attempts to pick them up, or even brushes against them on the trip - the thorns on these things are so wicked they'll pierce leather work gloves.

We've been aware for some time that the wild roses are on the interloper's list of preferred delicacies. It's not uncommon to look at the roses around this time of year and find them nothing but a lacework remnant of their former selves:

Lacework Roses

What we discovered this year is that, in addition to the roses, these little bastards have also taken to our cherry tree:

Sad Cherries

And the thing is, it's just the cherry tree, at least at the moment. There are a handful of beetles on the peach tree next to it, and on the pear tree a little further on, but the cherry tree has been completely laced - not a single leaf was spared.

Sad Cherries close-up

And the thing is, we have a yard full of other dining options. It seems to me that what is really needed here is a Japanese Beetle palate re-education project. Instead of wasting their time on the relatively limited supply of roses and peach trees, for example, such a project could introduce them to the abundant wonders of White Mulberry trees, the unbelievably resilient Woody Nightshade, and the supposedly many and varied uses of Burdock.

Once complete, that project would open up a world of opportunity to the beetles. Not only would they have access to a plethora of new dining adventures, but they'd be on the "must have" list for every farmer and gardener in the Midwest.

Clearly this is one of my finer ideas. Now where can I get a set of teeny-tiny school desks and chairs...?