Wednesday, July 23, 2008

japanese beetles and other matters of luck

Ed has a thriving population of Japanese beetles on his property. You know them perhaps? They’re too thick and crunchy to be attractive to the common insect-eating birds or reptiles. Kind of gross, too, if you squash them with your fingers. They eat up your plants at a healthy pace and so no one is happy with their presence.

Wanting to be helpful, I read up on them to offer some advice. (Also, I have found one or two on my balcony and though a balcony is a manageable environment, still, I wanted to know more on how to communicate to them that they’re trespassing.)

Well now, it appears that the only way to effectively control Japanese beetles is to plant things that they find less than tasty. An orchard such as the one on Ed’s property and the sprawling raspberries (want some canes? come, with a shovel and lots of deet!) -- these are like a party with an open bar for beetles.

Moreover, once you get a few beetles, you’re going to get more. They are attracted to each other and they go where their own scent makes them dizzy with happiness.

Traps, you say? Sure. Traps are so effective that they can entice beetles that had no intention of ever coming your way.

And so there you have it. Not only may you be so unlucky as to have a tree ruined by the pests, but that in itself may, in turn, lead you to have other plants munched up too. Bad luck begets bad luck.

I have a friend like that. Lots of bad things happen to her. Hello, friend, I’ll say. How are you? The answer is never good. Things keep spiraling, even though one has to imagine that she has had her share and the tide must surely shift now. Her bad luck follows her in much the same way the beetles follow each other. It’s all rather disheartening.

I thought about this as I biked to work the last couple of days. Because you cannot help but consider yourself incredibly lucky to be passing this every morning on the way to work. Makes you want to take out the old paint brush and paint. (Or, in my case, reach for the camera.)

010 copy
Purchase photo 1908

009 copy
Purchase photo 1907

007 copy
Purchase photo 1906

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