Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Olga's Method

You have to love a rose. Apparently these Japaneses beetles do. They love each other, too.

This is one of the few I found that wasn't co-joined. A look around the local gardens reveals a real plague of beetles. On addressing the problem with Olga, the organic gardener at The Toledo Botanical Gardens, I learned her secret in dealing with the infestation. Read on - if you dare.

You've been warned. This is not a story about flowers. It's about the Japanese Beetles that have been ravishing them and one another throughout the garden.

I asked Olga how she was managing the infestation of amorous, chomping beetles. I established my organic bona fide by mentioning the method of flicking them into sudsy water. She wrinkled her brow. "Well, that seems kind of cruel to me. They drown. I dispatch them quickly. I squish 'em."

She offered to demonstrate. I took a breath. She reached toward a small sunflower where scores of them munched away. Squish. Crunch. With her BARE hands. I was speechless.

"If you want to keep your hands clean you can knock them into a pouch and squish them in there." She pulled a pouch out of a pocket and knocked a stem of hapless bugs into the envelop. Knead. Knead.

I knew I would post about the encounter. It wasn't until I zoomed and cropped the last photo of the pouch method that I found a 'bit' of humor in it.

The pouch she'd saved for the purpose reads: " . . . . . the great fresh baked taste you've come to expect from 'Little Bites'."




Body Soul Spirit said...

That's a lot of squishing. I don't use sprays as a rule, but wouldn't want to hand kill them either. I will have to look for these beetles.

Mary said...

Ahhhhh! I think it's funny!

Our infestation of Japanese beetles have left but not without a lot of damage. I'm glad they are GONE!

I flicked them off the flowers and if I could, I'd crush them into the grass. Sad, but true. (I'm really a "nice" person - tee hee). Actually, getting rid of Japanese beetles is like sweeping sand off the desert. They leave when they are darn ready. Nothin' you can do about it.

KGMom said...

We have our lawn treated with BT--to control such bugs.
Squishing--yecchh. With bare hands? Double yecchh!

mon@rch said...

we have so many of them, I just pluck them away! Ugg, Maybe I should try this bag thing! Thanks!

LauraHinNJ said...

Ahhh no - it's the squished up beetle innards that are visible under her fingernail. Gross!

I'll squish aphids by hand, but japanese beetles are too big and crunchy. I say drown 'em!

Pam said...

I don't think I could squish them, one by one, nope, couldn't do it. Yuck! I always used to use the sudsy water routine.

threecollie said...

Funny...very funny...but ewwww...I don't do bare handed squishing.

Anvilcloud said...

By foot, yes; by hand, no.

Bonita said...

Now, that is just like you, to find something delightful and unexpected. I'll have to admit that rarely do I ever kill a bug, even aphids. I just spray them off with the hose. All of them have a reason for being there.

NatureWoman said...

I hand kill them too, but with gloves on! I can't stand the feelings of them on my fingers!

Larry said...

I have to admit, I've resorted to the let the beatles eat my roses method so far.-Maybe I'll get tough with them next year.-Nothing like a cruchy little beetle on your mourning bowl of cereal though.

burning silo said...

As you might guess, I just let everything run amok here in my gardens. There are plenty of spiders, ambush and assassin bugs prowling around munching on beetles, aphids, etc... Also, my roses are all rugosas and so large that some chewed parts wouldn't be much noticed. I don't thnk I would want to crush bugs of any kind. If I really don't want a bug around, I do as bonita has mentioned and spray them off the plants with a hose. I used to do that with those red lily beetles and it worked not too badly.

Laurie said...

Ewwwww! My mom's name was Olga, by the way...

Cathy said...

You're all such good sports. Thanks for indulging my inner 5-year-old's fascination with people who can do goo.

I'll never forget watching Molly Arnholt make a glowing ring out of lightning bug 'parts'. I can still see it glowing there as she waved her hand before me. I was green with envy.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Confession time.
I pinch them between thumb and forefinger.
You get used to it.
For really bad infestations I fill a coffee can with hot water and knock entire flowerheads full of them into the hot water.
Say what you will, but it all beats spraying, which doesn't happen around here.

catbird said...

As a member of the brown thumb club, I squish 'em, too, although I've stopped hissing "Die, you little &@$!@*S%$!" when I do it. It just seemed a little too triumphalist. But I still think it.

Cathy said...

Ah Julie -

Confession is good for the soul. Feel a little better? For your penance recite three "Eensy Weensy Spider" rounds and four repetitions of "Lady bug, lady buy - fly away home" and resolve never to squish again. I absolve thee :O)

Catbird -

You're a hoot. Maybe the expletive deleted was just a way to psyche yourself up for the killing. Like warriors before a big battle. My son had to do this in Arizona - alone on a mountain top as he face a huge desert centipede in the astronomy dome. It was my son or the centipede. Goodbye unfortunate