(Warning: photo of many dead bugs ahead. If you don’t like dead bugs, or bugs in general, this post may not be for you. If, on the other hand, you are a gardener, you might take a little bit of vengeful pleasure from it.)
Yesterday morning, I walked out of the apartment to water my plants. Normally, this is a relaxing task and a lovely start to my day. But that day, I went to water my rhubarb and discovered upwards of 12 large bugs clinging to its leaves and making a meal of them. There were another few on the chard, kale, and basil, too.
I avoided disturbing them, and came back inside to grab The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control. It didn’t take long to identify them as Japanese beetles, which apparently love leafy greens even more than I do. Unfortunately for them, I intended those leaves for my own consumption, and not to provide a tasty treat for an invasive bug species. The book didn’t offer a lot of preventative options beyond organic pesticides. But one thing that they did suggest was gathering the beetles up and drowning them in a jar of water and dishsoap.
Thus was born the jar of doom. I grabbed a canning jar, added soap and water, and grabbed a trowel for knocking the beetles off the plants. I made my way back outside with butterflies swooping around me and in 20 minutes had committed a massacre of upwards of 30 beetles. Later trips outside yielded another 30 or so. Today, I killed another 20. Not bad for two days’ work, but this was still a horrifying number of things that were dead set on eating my veggies.
I’ll admit that I did feel somewhat satisfied getting them away from my plants, but it was also sad to see them trying to fight their way out of the water with no success. They succumbed quickly, but I have a sneaking suspicion that tonight I may well have dreams of shiny bugs coming after me, with trowels and Dawn in hand.