Raspberries, Japanese Beetles, and ”Wyoming Stars” Quilt Top

Turkey Tracks: July 27, 2022

Raspberries, Japanese Beetles, and ”Wyoming Stars” Quilt Top

The raspberries are coming in strong these days. I pick every day, and I get more and more berries every day. I have frozen some, eaten a lot, and given away a lot. Here’s what I picked late yesterday:

And here’s the beauty the flower garden provided yesterday:

One more row is needed on the ”Wyoming Stars” quilt. The secondary patterns are fascinating. It will be a good lap size: 60 by 60 inches. So far. I’ll see what is needed after I sew this part together.

Japanese beetles love raspberries and roses and will eat leaves until they are like lace. They emerge in the summer, about the time raspberries are starting to fruit.

What to do?

I think working with nature is the best answer—as there is a small grayish fly, the ”Winsome” fly—Istocheta aldrichi—that is a parasitoid and which emerges alongside the beetles. Winsome females lay eggs on the Japanese beetles back—on the thorax, which is just behind the head. You can see the little white dot which contains the eggs on the back of a beetle that Winsome has attacked. AND, these attacks occur BEFORE the JB lays its own eggs (40-60 eggs yearly). One larva hatches on the beetle and penetrates the beetle, which drops to the ground and tries to dig into the dirt as it is already sick. The Winsome’s larva eat the beetle, but stay with the carcass, and turn into a pupa, which emerges in the fly form next year, which seriously alters the beetles presence over time.

When I had my raspberries in the front garden, before I started over as the plants were too hard to harvest on the steep hill, I used to see a lot of the JBs with the white dots—and the number of beetles DID decrease over time.

The JBs mostly do not fly in from elsewhere, like other insects. They stay with their food source for the most part: raspberry bushes and roses. Control the numbers, and you control the problem.

I sweep a batch of beetles from a leaf into my hand and fist them. Then I release one at a time and check to see if I see the white dot. If so, that beetle goes free. If not, I kill that one with my thumbnail. I’m not squeamish about this murder, but if someone is, they could drop that beetle into a jar of soapy water and when they are done, cover the jar.