I am about to commit mass murder. (Ok, that might flag this blog, but before the powers that be knock on my door I think I can clarify things.) It does go against my nature, but someone has been eating my plants while I was on vacation and I did warn them before I left but they paid no heed, so now it is their own undoing, even though I am conflicted about the sentence.
Someone, and I know who they are, has committed atrocities against my hazelnut bushes, hostas, ferns, coralberry bushes, violets and all manner of ground cover. I come home to find very sad plants, devoid of the normal green and reduced to skeletons of veins turned brown by voracious consumption. Who did this terrible thing? Those dad gum Japanese beetles!
On my little piece of Mother Earth here in Central Wisconsin the Japanese beetle has been wreaking havoc on local plants and now the people are up in arms and I, unfortunately, must join the ranks of the infuriated. How to proceed is the question. I don’t use pesticides in my yard because of all the wildlife that visits and lives here, so I have been thinking of ‘milky spore’ as a resolution. Milky Sore is a ‘bio-pesticide’ harmful only to its target host, beetle eggs and grubs. It works by releasing a specific bacterium into the lawn, which is then gathered in the roots of the lawn grass and when the grubs start eating the sod’s roots they become infected with ‘milky spore disease’. Once the grub has ingested the spore it dies and the spore multiplies to infect eggs as well. It does have the benefit of working continuously for years to come although it is recommended to treat the lawn two years in a row to break the cycle.
Milky spore is not 100% effective but it is a great alternative to traditional pesticides that are non-discriminate, taking a dramatic toll on our pollinators and other beneficial insects. The spore is not harmful to animals, including us.
I’ve reconciled with the product, but that still doesn’t reconcile my murderous rage against a fairly innocent animal. I know. There should be some line concerning what we consider worthy and what is not, but there isn’t.
So, in order to save the plants and the rest of the animals that use the plants in the yard, I have decided to commit mass murder upon the Japanese beetle, innocent – or not!
Oh, oh….there’s a knock at the door….