In an effort to make the problem the solution I have come up with what might be a crazy idea. I wanted some input before I try this. The Japanesse Beetles have just arrived here. The local social media is abuzz with the organic versus chemical control debate. Personally, I am in the beetle trapping camp. I am being told I will attract more beetles to my property this way. (I already know this as I've been trapping them for 3 years now.) I don't have chicken or ducks to feed them to. So, I empty the trap into a 2 gallon bucket snap the lid on and leave it in the sun until the beetles are dead. Then,I dump it in the compost bin. This spring when I added compost to my vegetable garden the beetle shells were still visible in the compost. So far, I'm not seeing much damage in the vegetable garden. I'm wondering if I have stumbled across a variation on Sapp Holders bone sauce. Has anyone else tried something like this?
In my case my small orchard is in a suburban back yard. I would like to build a swale just up the hill from the apples. But, since my house is a duplex and I don't want to put off potential tenants I am looking for a way to make an invisible swale. This is where the Japanesse Beetles come in. If the dead beetles are working like bone sauce then spreading them near the appletrees would provide some protection. Just in case there are any viable eggs that might lead to a hatch of grubs I intent to spread them on the hill above the trees in the hopes that moles will eat the grubs and loosen this soil and build my invisible a swale. Does this seem reasonable or have I been possessed by the spirit of Rube Goldberg?
Adding the dead beetles to compost seems like it should be a fine idea, more organic material to go around! the shells will take a long time to decompose, and it will happen even more slowly if you put that compost out before the shells have disintegrated, because the compost will no longer be "hot" when distributed.
As far as having made "Bone Sauce," I'm not sure this will have the intended effect - Bone sauce is applied like paint to the branches and trunk of the plants, not the soil, so they dead bugs will probably not make your plants taste gross when an herbivore takes a nibble (this is what bone sauce is supposed to do).
My ideal solution to big beetle problems is - Eat them! roasted or sauteed with a little salt or butter/olive oil, maybe some cayenne - delicious!! (if you're not sure you like this idea, and you choose to test it, pull off the legs and wing covers, they might be too crunchy unless you're used to it.)
Experimenting and growing on my small acre in SW USA; Fruit & Nut trees w/ annuals, hoping to get Chickens, rabbits, and in-laws onto property soon.
Long term goal - Furniture & Luthier Stay-at-home farm dad.
On the subject of bone sauce... I was just looking at the Sepp Holzer Permaculture section of permies and he claims that one application of bone sauce works as a deterrent for decades. I can't imagine that this is right, if the mean by which it works is making the tree taste bad. Maybe there is something else going on. I have read a little about the work of Rudolf Steiner and how he used potentized ashes to repel pests on farms. Since herrs Steiner and Holzer are both from central europe maybe they both know something the rest of us have yet to learn. Since I have already been composting dead Japanesse Beetles and spreading milky spore l clearly can't do a controlled experiment at this point. I'm just wondering if anyone else is doing anything along these lines.
Sounds like how BT was first made, with ground up catepillars. I haven't used it, but apparently BTK is for beetle larvae, and you may have made it yourself! In addition, few animals like the smell of their own kind rotting.
This is all just my opinion based on a flawed memory
Here in Southern California, my suburban garden has been severely stunted by this beetle in the past. I like that idea of the bone sauce. I've read that those pheromone traps don't work when they're full of bugs. Maybe the dead bug compost wouldn't work exactly like the bone sauce. However, if you treat the fresh dead bugs like the animal bones in Sepp's recipe or just spread them around your plants, perhaps that would have a similar effect. I'm intrigued by the idea of eating them. I also don't have chickens or ducks, but my friend's stepfather does. Maybe you can pander off your surplus of dead bugs.
Here. Have a potato. I grew it in my armpit. And from my other armpit, this tiny ad:
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