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Milky Spore - Japanese Beetles

Discussion in 'Nature/Habitat/Garden Corner' started by JLC, Aug 23, 2016.

  1. JLC

    JLC Member

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    Does anyone remember the community wide Milky Spore Application program from back in 2004?

    Here are a couple of old links I found from back then:

    http://www.milkyspore.com/litdownloads/SporeCPROG.pdf

    http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2005/mar/22/death-to-beetles/

    10 years is about how long the spore is effective and I've been noticing an increase in the number of Japanese Beetles recently. I contacted the HOA to see if they were planning on running this program again but was told,

    "Our landscapers typically have not treated Japanese beetles for the whole community because the milky spore treatment only kills the beetles that are currently existing in the area that you treat – and to treat all 150+ acres would be extremely costly for the Association members. Additionally, this would not prevent nor kill any beetles that migrate over from untreated communities that border Broadlands. With Broadlands being a Certified Wildlife Habitat community we have to be careful not to disrupt the wetland areas with treatments or landscaping of any kind."

    I thought the whole point of using Milky Spore was to prevent people from using pesticides. I'm hoping there are enough people in the community who would be interested in this again. The more households that participate, the more effective.
     
  2. KTdid

    KTdid Well-Known Member

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    Yes, we participated then. This year is the first year we've seen so many and had to put out the beetle bag lure - glad I kept them handy. We were the only TH in our row that treated but it still helped tremendously.
     
  3. jaeris

    jaeris New Member

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    I will definitely participate again. Last time we treated the common areas near my house as well. Haven't seen a Japanese beetle in my garden since then and there were hundreds before the treatment. Well worth the money.
     
  4. marsasha

    marsasha New Member

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    I too participated in the 2004 program and also noticed this was the first year that I saw a lot of beetles where I had hardly seen any since the original application of Milky Spore. I looked at the website for St. Gabriel which operates out of Orange and I didn't see any reference to an application program being available. It seemed they were just selling the product. I had looked into buying the product and applying it myself but would prefer to participate in a program where they do the application. I am going to make some calls and see if they even do any applications anymore or if they know anyone who does.
     
  5. OSimpson

    OSimpson Certified Master Naturalist

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    Combating Japanese Beetles
    This is interesting... It's dated 2015 but worth to look into it.

    Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica) are especially prolific this summer, voraciously consuming the leaves, flowers and buds of herbaceous (non-woody) plants, shrubs and trees. They were first discovered at a nursery in New Jersey in 1916, probably introduced here with imported nursery stock. Now widespread east of the Mississippi River in the United States and southern Canada, these insects are destructive pests in North America because the natural predators with which they evolved are not present here to keep them in check.

    What can you do to combat these critters? Enlist the help of some predatory insects that are native to North America.

    Scoliid wasps prey on the larvae of scarab beetles to feed their own larvae. Japanese Beetles are a species of scarab beetle. Female Japanese Beetles burrow a few inches into the ground to lay their eggs. Their larvae, often called grubs, develop underground and feed on the roots of plants. Female scoliid wasps find and enter the underground burrows of Japanese and other scarab beetles, and lay an egg on each grub. The wasp larva hatches and consumes the grub. Two species of scoliid wasps are shown in this post, Scolia dubia andScolia bicincta.

    How can you entice these beneficial wasps to patrol your property? They can be bought with food. The adult wasps drink nectar from flowers, usually flowers that have short tubes, arranged in dense clusters that provide a landing platform for the wasp. Mountain mints and many aster family members fit this description. They seem especially partial to goldenrods and bonesets, in addition to the mountain mints.

    These beneficial wasps are hairy, helping to make them to be effective pollinators of the plants they visit for nectar. The pollen is likely to adhere to their hairy bodies and be carried to another plant for deposit.

    Scolia bicincta on Hoary Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum incanum).

    You may be worried about having wasps around, because of their reputation for stinging. While that reputation may be deserved for some social wasp species, like the Yellowjackets, it’s more a case of guilt by hasty generalization for solitary wasps like the scoliids. Social wasps live in colonies, which they aggressively defend from intruders. But scoliids, like many wasp species, are solitary. So there is no colony to defend. Stingers are really ovipositors (egg laying structures) that can be used for two purposes. Females may use the ovipositor to sting and subdue their prey, and also to lay their eggs. Male wasps and bees don’t lay eggs, so the don’t have ovipositors, and can’t sting. Solitary wasps like the scoliids are quite gentle, and would generally have no reason to sting a person.

    Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) on Goldenrod (Solidago species)

    The Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus) is a type of assassin bug that is happy to devour adult Japanese Beetles. Wheel Bugs hunt their prey by blending in with a plant. They wait for a hapless victim to come close enough to grab it with their somewhat hairy and sticky front legs, then stab it with their beak, injecting enzymes that paralyze and then liquefy their victim’s innards. The Wheel Bug then slurps up the resulting insect smoothie, with the victim’s exoskeleton acting as a to-go cup.

    Wheel Bug (Arilus cristatus) preying on Japanese Beetle; more Japanese Beetles continue to eat in upper left.

    Japanese Beetle grubs (larvae) are especially fond of eating the roots of lawn grasses. As a result, lawns are the favored location for Japanese Beetles to excavate a burrow for their eggs. Replacing as much lawn as possible with a mix of herbaceous plants, shrubs and trees will minimize the habitat available to Japanese Beetles for reproduction. Reduced habitat means fewer Japanese Beetles.

    Japanese Beetles (Popillia japonica)

    What can you do to combat Japanese Beetles? In order to attract beneficial insects like those shown here, be sure you have a variety of plants native to your area. Take away the Japanese Beetle’s preferred habitat by minimizing the size of your lawn. There will be a corresponding reduction in the number of Japanese Beetles you see.
     

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