thoughts from New England

I Squash You, Bug; or: Japaneetle Bees July 17, 2007

Filed under: bugs,garden,gardening — tim @ 12:37 am

So I’ve discovered the source of my discontent in the garden — squash bugs. These lil critters look like this:

I’ve searched out the pumpkins and yellow squash for their eggs, and I’ve found quite a few. They look like tiny little orange/red dots on the underside of the leaves. I must have killed a city’s worth of these guys today. Hopefully I’ve been able to drastically reduce their numbers enough so the squash can live to see another day. I’m kind of kicking myself because I meant to grow butternut squash this summer for this exact reason: they are strongly resistant to pests such as the squash bug. But this spring, I had forgotten that piece of information and only remembered that I had to powder the tomato plants around my birthday to prevent mass horned tomato worm infestation.

The solution to the squash bugs, besides crrrrrrrrushing their eggs, is some stuff called Red Devil or Natural Guard. Well, that’s the organic solution, as it uses a fairly organic means to eliminate these guys. Today I cut one of them open with my pocketknife and made him pay. That was only moderately satisfying.

The internet has been a great help to me in finding resources for gardening; I also was wondering why some of my tomato plants were wilting on the bottom leaves. A phone call to my dad revealed that I needed to cut the wilting leaves off right away– there was an infestation of some sort. The weirdest thing was, I couldn’t see anything at all!

Thank you, interwow: Tomato Russet Mites. So small, you need a 14X magnifier to see them! Good thing I cut them off, now I think my one or two affected plants will be okay. Still, I’m going to get some wettable sulfur in order to properly eliminate them.

This season has been much more about educating myself with pest than it has with the simple fact of growing things. I’ve found quite a few slugs among the radishes and I found one in the lettuce today. I need some skunky, cheap beer to get them to die. I also saw some odd worm munching on one of my habanero plant — it was very green on the outside and even greener on the inside. I don’t think it was a horned tomato worm, because I didn’t think they liked peppers. Still, I’ll be on the lookout and launch a preemptive shock-and-awe strike on them this summer.

Japanese Beetles are a pain — I was changing the trap bags this morning (which has become part of my Monday routine) and I remember how much this reminds me of my childhood. Well, Japanese Beetles, that is. My dad would always have to put traps up because they would just decimate our chestnut trees similar to Biblical locusts. K-ren, my youngest sister, was about 4 or 5 when she called them “Japaneetle Bees,” and the name has stuck in our family ever since. The Japaneetle Bees (which is a great band name, btw) have ravaged the wild grapes around the property, and had been munching on the peppers, the tomatoes, and the basil — although they haven’t gotten any of these too badly. I attribute this to the traps.

By the end of a week, the traps turn into a hanging bag of death, and I know I have to change them when more flies are on the outside than JBs. Still, it hasn’t been too bad this year — I think the wild grapes are holding them off.

Tonight we had a salad with homegrown lettuce — delicious as always. Did I mention that last Friday, Lidz and I picked wild blackberries from across the street? It’s true — we did. She absolutely loved them.

By the way, those bugs at the top of this post? Mating. Bet you weren’t planning on having to see bug sex this morning. Looks like you all got punk’d!


3 Responses to “I Squash You, Bug; or: Japaneetle Bees”

  1. Paris Says:

    That’s so hot!

  2. Gabor Says:

    P.S. Suuure, it was Karen. It’s ok if it was really you and it was last year.

  3. amy Says:

    Listening to a show about roses on Diane Rhem. Not sure this will work on vegetables but some people kept Japanese Beetles off their roses by (a) spraying the plants w/vegetable oil spray [Pam] and (b) blending the beetles in a blender w/water and spraying that all over the plants.

    Uh, so if you’re up for either of these ideas… Or else stick w/the traps.

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