beetles are invasive insects that defoliate roses, grapes, cherries,
and many other garden plants. Although they're terrible in the
garden, the beetles are one of our chickens' favorite foods.
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I go into the garden on cool summer mornings when the Japanese beetles
are slow-moving, place a cup of water below the bottom edge of a leaf,
and give the plant a sharp tap. When startled, cold Japanese
Beetles let go of the plant they are eating and drop to the ground ...
or into my cup if I've placed it correctly. After my cup is full,
I toss the contents, water and all, into a chicken tractor and watch my hens go crazy.
Of course, this method
of catching Japanese Beetles isn't going to cut it for large scale
feeding operations. If you're willing to buy some Japanese Beetle
pheremones, you can create a trap like the one shown below which will
capture these protein-rich insects for you. The pheremones are
sold in many garden stores to bait Japanese beetle traps in a misguided
attempt to lure Japanese beetles out of folks' gardens. (In
practice, the traps more often lure the beetles right into your
favorite rose bush.)
I'd love to find a
method of capturing Japanese beetles that didn't depend on storebought
scents --- if you've got any thoughts, please leave a comment!
Last summer, we had great (if accidental) luck capturing June bugs by
hanging some of our automatic chicken waterers up in the garden, partly
full of water and with the lids off. The June bugs tried to land
on the slippery sides, but soon descended into the liquid at the bottom
of the containers, where they drowned. If anything, our chickens
considered the June bugs even tastier than the Japanese beetles, so we
may have to work on developing a real June bug trap this summer.