The War Against the Japanese Beetles

This is a Japanese Beetle, pictured on my rose bush.  Destroying my rose bush.  Let's not mince words.  I'm the enemy of the Japanese Beetle.  When the first few arrive, I put on my tough, rubberized gardening gloves and carry around a tub of soapy water.  I pluck the beetles off and toss them in.

The soap bubbles serve two purposes--the soap breaks the water's surface tension, so the beetle cannot simply float to the side and escape.  Secondly, the foam hides the beetle's struggle from me, and I don't feel quite so bad about being the instrument of death.

I took a class this weekend at the wonderful Cedar Circle (Organic) Farm in Thetford, VT.  They use a little hand-held vacuum cleaner to remove beetles.  Their other trick is to spray--every couple of years--a nematode around the base of the most affected plants.  They do this in late summer or early fall, after the beetles have already laid their eggs in the soil.  The nematodes, which are tiny worm organisms, will prey on the beetle eggs, and they'll never hatch in the spring.  I'm going to have to investigate.