Thursday, July 5, 2012


Basil feast!
My friend Peter who is the camera man for my Better Connecticut TV stories often teases me about being a plant nerd.  I've thought this myself, but never more than tonight.
Beetles emerge from the ground at night
Something has been munching on my basil plants... for that matter my Coral Bells, Chrysanthemums, Dahlias and many others... but I never see ANY bugs around.  Some bugs have vampire tendencies in that they only come out in the night time. Tonight I put on my L.L.Bean spot light hat and went out on a bug bust.  Well, well, well look who I found! The Asiatic Garden Beetle.  These devils look almost identical in form to a Japanese Beetle except for their coloring as they are all brown rather than green.  They are also master defoliators, often just leaving the mid vein of a plant leaf.  Most of my basil plants are mere skeletons! Gasp! Why did I wait so long?
A basil plant chewed to almost nothing

The trouble maker
Leaves with signs of leaf chewing- can you spy the beetles?

Best hat for night bettle busting
 Upon my discovery, I quickly grabbed an empty bottle, squeezed in a teaspoon of dish soap, added some water and then headed to the garden adding a pair of gloves to my ensemble.  I removed every beetle from each basil plant, adding each one to the bottle for a quick death in detergent.  There was a lot of beetle hanky panky going on, so I was especially pleased to have interrupted baby beetle making.  My husband came out to the garden wondering what the heck I was up to- he looked at me like I was nuts when I explained what I was doing and then added, "But I can't leave them here eating my plants! I have to do something!"  So Peter, it's confirmed.  I am a complete plant nerd and also a serial beetle murderer!
My organic beetle control, hand picking
Many beetles met their fate in my detergent solution


  1. Wow Julie! Good sleuthing. I have heard that these beetles (a.k.a. grubs in the larvae stage) love well-watered gardens, which is probably why they are most commonly known to attack lawns. FRWA has a fact sheet on grubs for lawn control:

  2. These are killing my zinnias! And my sunflowers are literally skeletons of just veins of the leaf. Last week they seemed to let up a little but now they are back. I feel your pain.