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Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

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Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by hariet~rose on 8th December 2013, 20:41

It is unbelievable.. 20 minutes ago, not a scarab in the sky, now we have millions (i kid you not) of beetles infesting the garden. They have stripped the eucs and now they are eating the lavender and roses (except Dr Huey).. what on earth do we do.??. i tried some surface spray i had in the cupboard but no effect, i have turned the sprinkler on...we get beetles every year but this is a major plague and unbelievable.. see how they have shredded this rose below and below that the lavender..

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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by silkyfizz on 8th December 2013, 20:56

That's amazing Hariet, I wouldn't have believed they can gather in such numbers and actually strip plants bare, if you hadn't posted the pictures. I'm gobsmacked! I can't even think of what you could do. Could smoke deter them perhaps?
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by hariet~rose on 8th December 2013, 21:01

thank you, smoke is a good idea.. we have set up a UV light with a box of soapy water underneath but it is but a trickle... the air is dense with the smell of lavender, eucs, and green sappy smell..off to light a fire
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by maree on 8th December 2013, 21:12

OMG !!! Good heavens , all i can think of is picking them off and drowning them ...
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 8th December 2013, 21:31

It is up to the person that owns then,if it was me I would use a chemical this time and it would be now
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by hariet~rose on 8th December 2013, 21:47

I will ask tomorrow at the store for the chemical to use.. I am pulling them out of my hair as i type - thank goodness they don't bite flesh.. we put the weber BBQ on, without the lid, added dead sticks to those obnoxious fire lighters .. and the smoke has calmed them down (the silkyfizz control method) .. they are concentrated in one area and i now can see heaps of them dead on the grass which is from the spider knock down i used (sorry collateral damaged beneficial insects) earlier i think..tomorrow night i will cover this section of the roses, the damage looks extensive... what a sight...i did grab gobs of them maree and chucked them in the fire.. the night is noisy with the sound of munching insects in the air.. geeeez
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by silkyfizz on 8th December 2013, 22:00

Good luck Hariet. I wonder how long they stick around for? If smoke works maybe you could put a few embers in a few buckets, cover with green grass/leaves, cover that with a couple of bricks to stop live embers floating off and starting a major fire and scatter the buckets around your garden. Having them in your hair!!! God I'm squirming as I type.
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by maree on 8th December 2013, 22:10

Do you live on a property Hariet , or is this in the middle of the burbs ?
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by hariet~rose on 8th December 2013, 22:21

thanks Silkyfizz, you have some hidden pyrotechnic training that has come in handy tonight. We think we need to get them at dusk, so tomorrow night we will see how putting out lots of fires around helps. Maree we live on 17 acres. The house block is well tree-ed but our paddocks and the neighbours are not. The beetles live as grubs in the soil and feed on grass roots. so when the adult beetles emerge they head for the few euc trees they can find. meanwhile the farmers that fertilise their pastures, or people like us that have horses that contribute to pasture fertility, end up providing more nutrients for the pasture roots (and beetle larva), so the balance is out of whack. Once upon a time possums and sugar gliders would have eaten the blighters. I wonder whether the dry spring has enhanced the plague this year...I will load up some piccies after work tomorrow so we can see the damage in the daylight - thanks for your help and interest!
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by maree on 8th December 2013, 22:32

Oh , that makes sense Hariet , you can have the little blighters , i have seen them in the burbs especially when we've had hot summers , good on you Silky for your suggestions ...
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by silkyfizz on 8th December 2013, 22:53

Hope the idea works Hariet! Fingers Crossed 
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by neptune on 8th December 2013, 23:27

I feel for you , Caroline......I have never seen them and I am certainly glad we don't get them over here.......Gulp!......I think....[You must be registered and logged in to see this image.]
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by paulh on 9th December 2013, 00:25

What tha, load up with 5litres of insecticide and let them have it... imo
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by neptune on 9th December 2013, 00:30

paulh wrote:What tha, load up with 5litres of insecticide and let them have it... imo


jeezes Paul...only five litres.....Boy!....your're letting them off easy....Evil or Very Mad 
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by paulh on 9th December 2013, 00:47

5 litres a plant lol
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by neptune on 9th December 2013, 01:29

roflmao..... 
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by AutumnDamask on 9th December 2013, 05:38

OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!! 

And I thought I was having trouble with an earwig plague and thrice-blasted rose weevils!!!! (I try to go out most nights and squish the weevils. Have got a couple of these beetles at the same time. hmmm)

Hope you can bottle what Dr Huey has and use it as a protection mask for the others!

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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by hariet~rose on 9th December 2013, 06:59

A look around garden this morning and the damage is severe in one section in particular. My theory (ahum) is that the roses directly under the euc trees got covered in euc oil last week when the beetles started there, and now the beetles sense these roses are eucs (and they stay there 'cos they are easy to eat). Here are some photos. One little floribunda that I have been trying to get a name on for years was totally stripped as was burgundy iceberg - but then up slope by about 1 metre, Cottage Rose and Sharifa Asma were ok.??
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This is one of the contraptions we used (soapy water in box, UV light on table). In addition we used the silkyfizz smoke them until they are hot technique plus a spider surface insecticide, hence the cadavers on the lawn

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in this shot below, the beetles are writhing in the garden soil this morning and the roses up slope that came out ok..

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Tonight there will be a grande battle in my front garden >8@ 
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by betsyw on 9th December 2013, 09:01

Excellent pix of the battlefield, if appalling. I had no idea at all that Christmas beetles ate roses, and here I've just been gently brushing them out the door when they've doddled around inside. They look so innocent...

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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 9th December 2013, 12:16

Caroline, we have eucs here in Mudgee that are stripped and are on the way back with young growth and are being attacked again. The one's that line the road to our cellardoor had been attacked and we had to spray them called with a not nice chemical chlorpyphos which is used to kill plague locusts and white ants. It got rid of them quick smart. I guess we are in the same boat as you with no feed in the paddocks, the beetles are even starting to eat some of our grape leaves, things are tough, I hope you get on top of them before they do to much more damage.
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 10th December 2013, 16:19

Caroline, as you are our native person, do Christmas beetles normally eat peppercorn trees as ours are being attacked
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by hariet~rose on 10th December 2013, 18:10

they will eat anything if the fancy takes them - they usually prefer eucs, but if they are in short supply, because they have already pigged out on the eucs, they will move to the next option.. the more aromatic the leaves the better (hence why lavender is an entree for them).. geez that is bad luck on the pepper trees though.. lucky the grapes have been spared !
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by The Lazy Rosarian on 10th December 2013, 20:42

Grapes have been spared so "far", this will depend on the gods of  >8@ Pouring Rain  
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by rosebud on 12th December 2013, 20:38

Had absolutely no idea Christmas beetles could be so destructive. Like betsyw, Christmas beetles seem so, well, Christmasy and the stuff of childhood Christmas memories. santa  I will be less kind next time they visit.  
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

Post by maree on 12th December 2013, 22:07

Me too , usually on a hot night they sneak in under the doors and fly around , think i'll catch the little buggers now and drown em ...
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Re: Help ~ Major Invasion of Christmas beetles

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