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Popillia japonica Newman
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In the "never make a random positive comment because you will quickly and decisively be struck by lightning" department - just last week I commented on how big the plum tree by the garage has grown. (Thinking that was more of an observation of fact rather than a favorable remark, I felt a false sense of security.) On Monday Becca came running inside claiming there was a big swarm of bugs out in the driveway. Being fully engaged in something as mind-absorbing as washing the dishes, I vaguely recall telling her they must be gnats and then completely forgot about that exchange. Until (ominous music swells in the background) Thursday evening when I noticed something odd when I drove up to the house - the top half of the plum tree was gone! GONE! TOTALLY DISAPPEARED!! JUST LIKE BUSH'S MEMORY OF ALL THOSE ABRAMOFF VISITS TO THE WHITE HOUSE!

As I got closer to the tree I saw a cloud of metallic sheened beetles and knew that we were under attack by the heinous Japanese Beetles. The landscaper was here to do some planting and sprayed the tree, along with the rose bushes and a weeping cherry tree that were also being included in a flanking action by the bastards.

According to one article "Japanese beetles apparently produce aggregation pheromones that will attract more males and females to feed and find potential mates... Commercially available traps attract the beetles with two types of baits. One mimics the scent of virgin female beetles and is highly attractive to males. [Ed. - I suppose this means that the scent of more mature females is NOT attractive to the males??] The other bait is a sweet-smelling food-type lure that attracts both sexes. This combination of ingredients is such a powerful attractant that traps can draw in thousands of beetles in a day." I can attest the "thousands" part because there are about a million in the five traps the landscaper set. I've thought about taking the flamethrower that we bought to combat the insidious Canadian thistle (why are all the pests named for other countries?) to the traps, but worry about the possibility of conflagration. Or bad karma in my next life if I turn out to be a bug.

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