Japanese Beetle Cuts Snowflake Pattern in Bean Leaf

Japanese Beetle damage on Bean leafIf only the snowflake story was true, I’d be a little more amused with the devastation. Japanese Beetles are fine lace makers as they chew holes through our Kentucky Wonder bean leaves and Nanking Cherry. If they could only fold the leaves in quarters and cut out snowflakes I’d perhaps get a chuckle to help relieve the stress of yet another “Holey Wonder Bean, Batman” moment.

I did not notice these beetles last year, but they are very present now. I try the flick and stomp method but they often fly off even in early evening. Because of higher numbers, I started using a plastic bag to cover a branch and then slowly pull the bag off the branch and leaves trying not to let any out. Then I take a small brick and crush however many are still inside the bag against a hard surface. This seemed to be effective even though we see more beetles take their place, as frustrating as that is. We do try to remove eaten foliage as I’d read that other beetles are attracted to already bitten leaves, but we wouldn’t have a lot left.

So, while this was going on I made the comment to Mutti that “at least we don’t have cucumber beetles.” I had an earlier battle with these in a community garden I tended a few years ago. Well, I spoke too soon. I saw my first spotted and striped cucumber beetles in the garden today, in the cukes and squash.  (“Bam” and “Pow.”) They attack beans and other things as well, so we have our work cut out for us. With three trellis areas of beans planted, we have had only one bean so far! I wonder if super gardeners just cover their entire vegetable gardens in long floating row cover capes? Next year we could try adding in more plants with reputations for deterring certain bugs, but it seems the hand picking method is the best we can do now organically. Will the homestead have a harvest of beans? Will beneficial nematodes nab the beetle larvae? Stay tuned.

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