The Q&A Archives: Leaf Eating Bugs

Question: A bug stripped leaves off of perennial salvia, yarrow, aster, mums, ignoring the day lilies, but, also stripped the flowers from the usually immune cone flowers. We used sevin & it helped for a while, but eventually, nothing worked. <br>What could we do to treat the soil before this season?<br>Should we pull out all the plants & start over? or can we salvage these perennials?<br>

Answer: Don't pull out your perennials - we can fight these vile creatures! I think my nemesis has invaded your yard as well...sounds like japanese beetles to me. You are growing a lot of the same things I grow and you could have been describing my yard. The beetles ignored only the daylilies in my yard last season as well, like your place also, they even ate the coneflower. You can treat the soil to kill some of the grubs in your yard that will grow up to be Japanese Beetles. Japanese beetle grubs are best controlled by spraying beneficial nematodes on the lawn and garden area. These microscopic worm-like creatures attack only the grubs in the soil and not plants, animals or humans. Spray them in spring when the temperatures are above 55F and you should see a difference this summer. You can buy the beneficial nematodes from, Gardeners Supply Co, 128 Intervale Rd. Burlington, VT 05401 800-863-1700. The bad news is, all of your neighbors probably aren't going to treat their lawns so you are only reducing the population, not eliminating it and where Japanese beetles are concerned, if you grow it, they will come. Fortunately, some gardeners have had luck deterring them with repellents. Gardens Alive (5100 Schenely Rd., Lawrenceburg, IN 47025; ph# 812-537-8650) offers an organic, Neem-based repellent. It's important to apply it before beetles show up. Personally, I will start applying in late May this year, the beetles usually show up in mid June.

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