One of the many joys of living on a farm/forest/acreage, is the pests you encounter. Mice, voles, moles, spiders (so many spiders), ladybugs, flies, larder beetle (did you know they live in cat litter???), wolves, coyotes, coywolves, muskrats, beavers, horseflies, deerflies, mosquitoes, blackflies… I will stop here.
I have a reel mower. Two of them, actually, and I love pushing it. I love plugging in my ipod and cranking the tunes while getting a sweaty workout. And it is a good workout, let me tell you. Especially going uphill. But two days ago, while the boy and I were mowing, he started getting weirded out by all these…bugs. Bugs don’t normally bother him. And I try to keep my screams to a minimum when I encounter bugs, so I usually scream (habit) and then call out in cheerful voice, ‘It’s ok! Just startled a little!’ So when I investigated, I found all these flying…bugs. Everywhere. I googled them. I googled, ‘tan, small beetle, farm’. Nothing. ‘Beige, beetle, Ontario’. Nothing. Ah, they’ll go away, I said to myself.
Yesterday, they were everywhere. I looked high and low for our usual insanity of dragonflies, but they weren’t really around. I chose to mow anyway, and after 40 minutes, I had to stop, because these disgusting things kept landing on me. Creepy. Small beetle. Tan. Orange, prickly legs. Still couldn’t find anything.
Today I sat down and looked up, ‘Insect Identification Ontario’. I scrolled through about 300 bugs, when I finally found it.
Behold. The rose chafer.
Isn’t it disgusting?
Guess where they lay their eggs? In sandy soil.
Guess what they eat? E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
They love roses. But I don’t have any. So they love grass. I have tons. They love fruit trees. I only have two. They love all flowers, all foliage and all vegetation. And they are ridiculously destructive. And get this: they kill chickens because they are toxic.
They skeletonize leaves. DAMAGE IS MOST SEVERE IN AREAS WITH SANDY SOIL.
Oh, how I cried.
Guess how you kill them?
1-lay out floating row covers (too late)
2- throw down some parasitic nematode stuff (I have 150 acres)
3- go out and collect by hand and kill them.
I cried some more.
Then I inspected my compound (incidentally, I need a nicer name than compound for my vegetable garden).
So. This is how you kill chafer beetles:
-don long jeans, long socks, long sleeves, hat and tall rubber boots. They fly, y’all.
-don long thick rubber gloves. Cause they squeeze ooze.
-large pail of super hot, super sudsy water
-psyche yourself up with loud, angry music. I recommend ‘Firestarter‘ by Prodigy. Because YOU ARE the ‘trouble starter, punking instigator, fear addicted, danger illustrated’ and YOU CAN dispose of them (I’m such a 90’s girl)
-convince boy to come out and help.
-after five minutes and capturing exactly two without vomiting, offer to pay the boy $100 if he comes out two times a day for the rest of the summer to collect all gross bugs and dispose of them.