OK, let’s catch some bugs

By Jan Herbert
Rockford Park District

Whether you were “green” before the color was fashionable or whether you’re just ready to find the “shade” that works best for you, here’s information about doing just “one green thing.”

I recently had a lesson in “how to build my own Japanese beetle trap.” Use the design as is, or come up with your own “better trap.”

You’ll need two (empty) 1-gallon vinegar bottles (I should have told you sooner so you could have saved them, sorry). You’ll need to cut the bottom off both. Do this just right, and one will overlap the other, but it doesn’t really matter. Use scissors or a rug knife.

Consider one bottle as the “top of the trap” (right-side-up), and about 1 inch below where the bottle gets larger, punch holes opposite each other. This is where you will put a piece of coat hanger or stiff wire (cut about a foot long) to hang the attractant cartridge (pheromone). You’ll also slide onto the wire the first loop of a 12-inch piece of lightweight chain, or rope creating a hanger for the device. Slide one end of the chain (or rope) onto the wire, then the cartridge, and put the wire through the two holes, leaving at least 1 inch of the wire sticking out on both sides. Bend the ends over (on the outside of the bottle). Making sure the chain is out the top, tape the two bottles together with 2-inch tape. Leave the lid on the one that is head down, and tape it tightly closed (we used electrical tape). The other lid can be tossed. Cut two or three “winged holes” below the neck. Think of these as trap doors, but pointed up so when beetles land on the sloped part of the bottle, they crawl down and fall right into the water. Add water and dish soap up to about 3 inches.

To hang, loop the chain or rope on a Shepherd’s Hook. When the trap is full, undo the cap and let the whole mess fall out (it’s pretty stinky, so definitely away from the house). My friend says he’s tempted to just stick a bucket under the whole thing. His first trap was full after one day. Somebody needs to find a good use for these beautiful, yet annoying, chomping beetles.

For more information, e-mail Jan Herbert at JanHerbert@RockfordParkdistrict.org.

From the Nov. 24-30, 2010 issue

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