Beetle Battles

Beetle invasions aren’t keeping our raspberries from putting out their best harvest ever! But the fight against the pests is ongoing. Now that I am a full time writer, I have also been able to devote more time to my garden, which includes dealing with the beetle problem. No more coming home from work too tired to weed it or harvest produce.

So this year I have been waging the never ending beetle battle. Even though I know Japanese beetles are a destructive species, I feel a teensy bit bad every time I take one off our raspberry bush. But only a teensy bit.

Beetle Battles - Our Prairie NestAfter all, look at this gorgeous berry! So far we’ve enjoyed an early summer berry harvest, no thanks to the beetles.

Beetle Removal

Since mid-June, I have come outside in the afternoon to get rid of them. The best way to do this is by hand picking them off their favorite thing to eat – the raspberry leaves.

It was tedious the first time, plucking them off one by one and flicking them into a bowl of soapy water. But then I figured out that I could just shake entire piles of them off the leaves at a time. They fall right into the waiting bowl.

The first day, we must have taken out at least a hundred of them. The numbers have decreased steadily since, but I exercise constant vigilance. Daily checks aren’t just a one-time thing. I leave the bowl of water, walk away, and come back a few times over an hour or so. I also step into my neighbors’ garden and get rid of any I see there.

Lately, I’ve had some ideas about taking the next step to go from hobby/self-sufficiency gardening to farming certain produce for profit. So ensuring the plants get good care including pest control is even more important to me. I have two crops in mind to experiment with – one very expensive to buy fresh, and both not normally grown large-scale around here.

Whether or not I do it depends on the success of this year’s experiments.

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