Popilla japonica, Scarabaeidae
|Japanese Beetles, feasting|
Japanese beetles are recognizable especially because of their tendency to "skeletonize" a leaf, or gnaw away at the fleshy part of the leaf, removing everything other than the veins. Somehow, they sense when other Japanese beetles are already feasting, and come over. Therefore, the more Japanese beetles present, the more are on their way--a viscous cycle.
|the damage left from the "skeletonizing"of the broccoli leaves|
According to Blue Horizon Farm, in an article about organic control of Japanese beetles:
According to the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, "When you remove beetles daily by hand from a plant, only about half as many are attracted to that plant compared to those on which beetles are allowed to accumulate." Japanese beetles tend to congregate in clusters that can easily be knocked off of your beloved plants into a bucket of soapy water where they will drown. Squishing them is an option for those of us who feel more aggressive towards them.
On the bright side, the broccoli itself has been growing despite the invasion. (Sorry the picture is sideways, I was having a hard time making it go right side up.) Broccoli, like the signs explain, is ready to harvest when about 8-10 inches across. The head should be cut with a knife, including about 6 inches of the stalk. The leaves should be left (or what leaves the Japanese beetles have left!) and the broccoli plant will continue to produce smaller florets which can be harvested and enjoyed as well. So, our broccoli isn't quite ready for picking, but it's getting really close! Check out this site for more information!