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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Battle of the June Bugs

Anyone following this blog from the beginning knows we have a couple avocado trees. We were pretty excited about growing our own avocados, but wondering if the trees would actually produce any fruit. After buying the house the trees looked pretty miserable but I continuously watered them every day or two. I noticed that the leaves were pretty shredded but originally just figured that it was a result of neglect. 6 months down the line, I look more closely at the trees and notice the leaves are getting worse, not better! Obviously I know nothing about trees. I've never owned a house before. My record with keeping plants alive has been very grim. I'd say its pretty close to zero actually. So now I've got this backyard full of fruit trees and other plants with absolutely no clue how to care for them and I'm just lost. Over time the leaves were getting worse. After some research online, I came to the conclusion that all the leaves were getting eaten by worms. I figured... yea that makes sense. The worms come out at night and get their grubby little mouths on our trees.



Few days later, I say to myself... SELF.... I'm gonna show those worms! I wander out to the back yard in the pitch black dark of night with flashlight in hand and shine it on the tree. I don't see any worms, but I definitely see something that doesn't look right! I see a little beetle looking thing... then another and another and another...... The tree is just covered with 'em! There were at least 30-50 of these little things. Go back inside and immediately start researching again.



After a bit more research, I figure out they're in fact June Bugs (Phyllophaga (genus), a genus of beetles in the subfamily Melolonthinae of the family Scarabaeidae). That's great and all, but now what? I know I can buy pesticides, but I really would rather not.

One of the cool little tricks I found was to take a cup of water, drop a little bit of dish soup in it, place the cup under the june bug and flick the leaf. The June Bugs just drop right into the water and drown because of the soap. Actually a really awesome little trick. I brutally drowned at least 20 June bugs over the course of the first few days of figuring out this trick. It was great and all and I definitely noticed a significant reduction in June bugs, but it definitely didn't solve our problem. Just seemed that the June bugs wouldn't disappear.

After more research and reading about other interesting but strange non-pesticide solutions I finally decided to go down to Armstrong Garden Center, showed them all the dead bugs and they confirmed they were in fact June bugs and that I would have to get pesticide. I went ahead and sprayed the trees and sure enough, problem solved!

Over the last month or so we started noticing avocados starting to grow and they're about the size of golf balls now! We're really looking forward to eating our own home grown avocados!  :)

And a little lemon glimpse of the lemon tree :)

~Nadav

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