July 12th, 2006

Neo-neocon at war

It’s confession time.

My name is neo-neocon, and I’m a warmonger. Not only have I declared war, but I’m deriving some pleasure from killing.

But don’t get me wrong. It’s not total war; I’m saving the big guns for when I might really need them. After all, in all-out, total war, everybody loses.

This is a war with that transcends issues of race (although some might argue it has aspects of class); this battle has inter-species connotations. The enemy: the Japanese beetle.

I know it’s really summer when they arrive. Their numbers are legion; the proverbial hordes. I know that spraying (otherwise known as total war) would be most effective, but I’m liberal enough and ecology-minded enough to not want to foul my own nest with pesticides unless absolutely necessary.

So, over the years, I’ve tried other methods.

Those pheromone-based lures are attractive–and not just to the beetles, but to me. Using their own sexual drives to entice them into traps seems a bit diabolical, but has the advantage of being harmless to the environment. And the technique works, in a way–as soon as I would set out a bag, I’d invariably catch about a pound of the critters (and believe me, a pound is a lot of beetle for the money).

But the lures seemed to attract as many as they killed. The beetles just kept coming and coming (and I know, I know; those who criticize the entire neocon endeavor would say that the same thing is happening in Iraq).

In the last couple of years I’ve fastened on my present approach.

I fill a jar with alcohol,

and stealthily approach the favored, already slightly decimated, feeding grounds:

or the alternative, but still somewhat popular, rest and recreation area:

The beetles are lazily, happily feeding (or procreating?), blissfully unaware of the fate that awaits them. They are slow in the midday sun, heavy and lethargic, and all it takes is a little bit of pressure on the plant with my free hand as the other holds the jar into which the happy beetles plop.

Death, I’m glad to say, is instantaneous. I’ve experimented with different concentrations of alcohol/water, and I’ve found that only the pure stuff keeps them from writhing and squirming for many long seconds. I have no wish to make them suffer; I just want them gone.

Wish me well. Wish them ill.

26 Responses to “Neo-neocon at war”

  1. guy Says:


    It’s always the same with you neocons. You get right to killing when diplomacy is obviously the right choice.

    Have you even tried to negotiate with them?

    We officially condemn your actions – courtesy of the Earwig, Box Elder Bug and Japanese Beetle coalition.

  2. dicentra Says:

    I don’t know if this will work with Japanese Beetles (I don’t get them in my yard *knocks wood*), but you can make tobacco tea by putting a couple fingers of chewing tobacco in an old nylon and soaking it in hot water. Then you spray the stuff on the plants, and the beetles, ingesting the nicotene (a natural pesticide), get awfully sick. To the point of being awfully dead, one hopes.

    At least, that’s the theory. According to one website, here’s the lowdown:

    “This is definitely a classic natural pesticide, but most organic gardeners today stay away from it. It may kill beneficials too if abused. It can cause diseases on tomatoes if not properly used. Most modern pro-tobacco pesticidal tea experts suggest to brew a tobacco tea no more than 30 minutes, to be safe enough to not harm beneficials like bees and ladybugs. You can mix in a liquid soap as a spreader-sticker. NOTE: Do not use tobacco teas on nightshade-family crops. Also recent research has proven that the available nicotine produced in a tobacco tea is not the same stuff as nicotine sulfate. It is much safer than nicotine sulfate or rotenene. Just one drop of pure nicotine sulfate on your skin can may you sick. Homemade tobacco teas have great knock-down power for tough pests like Japanese beetles. Chewing tobaccos are the most safest, natural forms for these homemade tobacco teas.”

    Hope that helps.

  3. expat Says:

    I admire your moral approach to this problem. At a different house, we had a horrible problem with snails, which I attacked with salt. I think my husband was a little frightened by the gleam in my eyes as the little devils dried out before me. Don’t mess with wimps!

  4. Ruth H Says:

    You are so lucky to be battling only Japanese beetles. I am in the “Caddyshack” mode re leaf cutter ants.
    They decimate whole bushes overnight, not to mention what they can do to an ordinary herb. It’s a jungle out there!

  5. Lurch Says:

    the beetle grubs feed on grass roots in your yard. killing the adults like you do really doesn’t impact the next generation that much at all. they lay sooo many eggs. and the pheromone lure attracts them to your yard from adjacent areas. you lose…

    treat your lawn with a small dose of any granular product containing imidacloprid. it is very effective and much better than throwing salt or nicotine all over the place. you will find excellent control next year and it will take several years for the problem to build up again. you will also notice a more healthy lawn.

  6. John Blake Says:

    For every bug that fulfills its destiny upon your flowerbeds, 72 chitinous virgins wait in exoskeletal realms of Coruscade. Allah be praised– each petal is a Mecca for the doughty pest! Press on to victory, me hearties, lest Nectar go to waste. Always another of our six-legged crew behind.

  7. ElMondoHummus Says:

    First, the fuzzy rodent plant eaters, now the bugs. Neo, you’re positively infested.

    I wonder if a dog or cat (for the rodents) and a small lizard like a Gecko (for the bugs) would do any good (no gardner am I).

  8. Ymar Says:

    Why can’t there be a simplistic solution with getting rid of annoying bugs, why can’t you just cook up a super-mutant army and have them do your dirty work for you.

  9. Dusty Says:

    Lurch is partly right, though I think any effort to reduce the beetle population will reduce next year’s spawn, provided you don’t use pheromones.

    You should understand that the pheromone approach only attracts the female. The males tend to follow but ignore the traps and go on feeding just as they ever did. Also note the pheromone carries for miles, then trackbacked for miles (probably an exaggeration) which is why the beetle presence seems neverending.

    If you don’t like Lurch’s imidacloprid, which would affect other beneficial insects, try nematode dust. These are basically Ymar’s mutant army. Adding the one specifically for Japanese beetles to the soil will control the beetle without harming the other insects. Please note, however that it must be Japanes beetles you have and not June Bugs. Nematodes do nothing to June Bugs, as far as I know.

    As for your brief and apt reference to Iraq, there is much to mine in comparing the Japanese Beetle problem with the overall WoT. But I’ll leave that for others to consider.

  10. Dusty Says:

    Expat: By the way, fireflies larva prey on snails and you can order firefly egg sacks from some garden catalogues. It’s a nice touch for those who like fireflies, it’s kind of cheap, but don’t expect to have the problem eliminated, only better controlled.

    For those that are interested in a more indiscriminate and mercenary look to your yard, there are preying mantis egg sacks available, too. Not sure about antlion egg sacks, Ruth, or whether they would even help with cutter ants, but it is worth a look.

  11. Cappy Says:

    When the trolls and near-trolls come out to blast you for disrespecting third world and insect cultures, it will once again prove their deep aliegance to vermin, of the two, four, and six legged varieties.

  12. Good Ole charlie Says:

    Ms Neo:

    With a couple dozen rose bushes at risk, I said the hell with it and went to Sears Roebuck and bought Bayer’s Advanced Garden Spray.

    Once a week I spray the new growth on the rose bushes, especially the buds.

    Then I sweep up the dead Japanese beetles from the walk and garden…FUN!

    Better Things For Better Living — Through Chemistry.

    And we have roses throughout the summer…

    PS: I agre with Lurch: “treat your lawn with a small dose of any granular product containing imidacloprid.”. It DO work…


  13. nyomythus Says:

    Nectar-scented electrical zappers … hundreds of them. That’d be one hell of a party, muhaaa!

  14. Harold A Jackson Jr Says:

    Many years ago when I luved in NYC and Bossston, I saw japanese beetles; now that I luve closer to Japan in California, I haven’t seen any.
    I wish to talk about something else. I have seen your commentaries on Paul Robeson. I discovered your website when I was looking u some information on Robeson. When I was in high school in 1845, my civics teacher playes an album of Robeson’s that was a history of the United States. I can’t remember it. I thought that in your reseach of him you may have come across the album. It seemed that it was a ballad of some kind. I don’t think that it was “Ballad for Americans,” but maybe it was. I got a very brief sample of it on the Net and the songs didn’t have a story line to them of the history of America. I remember clearly that he mentions the name of Crispus Attucks whom I never heard of before my freshman year in high school. To my embarrassment, I was informed by a white boy in the class. O well, it started me on learning history more fully. Well anyway are you able to help me?
    Hal Jackson
    Pomona, CA

  15. Harold A Jackson Jr Says:

    Oops, I was in high school in 1945. One of these days I’ll get my finger placement right, and also check my post.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    Harold Jackson: I did a quick search, but couldn’t come up with any information about that album.

  17. jgr Says:

    Neo, our threat is from so called ‘stink bugs.’
    Sunflowers to vegetable gardens, odoriferous stink bugs love -em all.

    When I catch up to the critters, I name each of my victims after a detested MSM newsperson and greatly enjoy mashing them.

  18. camojack Says:

    I’m disappointed. I thought you were leading up to dousing ’em with alcohol, then immolating them by lighting same…

  19. greeneyeshade Says:

    i heard ‘ballad for americans’ in jr. high; i don’t know about the album, but i see the ballad dates from 1939, when the moscow line was that communism was ’20th-century americanism’ _ which is pretty strongly implied in the cantata, though, as with ‘this land is your land,’ the revolutionary message has gotten buried by time. and a good thing too.

  20. harry mallory Says:

    I call upon an immediate halt to this senseless immoral and illegal war for shallow aesthetic gain and an immediate withdraw from the garden. This neo-necon perpetrated genocide must end!

    Seriously though, Ive read some of the remedies provided by others so far and am not sure thats the way to go. In the movie “Starship Troopers”, the brave and resourcefully humans defeated the earth from a hostile insect invasion by capturing and subjugating the ruling master beetle. You must also seek out and capture the beetle thats running the invasion in your garden. Make it fear you.

    Thats how it worked in the movie anyway.

  21. harry mallory Says:

    defended, not defeated.


  22. ElMondoHummus Says:

    Oh! Here’s something:


    “Option 1: Cultural Control – Hand Picking

    By noticing when the first adults arrive on a property, you can pick off and destroy these scouts that attract additional pests. The adults are less active in the early morning or late evening. They can be destroyed by dropping into a container of soapy water.

    Option 2: Cultural Control – Plant Non Attractive Plants

    The adults do not like to feed on ageratum, arborvitae, ash, baby’s breath, garden balsam, begonia, bleeding heart, boxwood, buttercups, caladium, carnations, Chinese lantern plant, cockscomb, columbine, coralbells, coralberry, coreopsis, cornflower, daisies, dogwood (flowering), dusty-miller, euonymus, false cypresses, firs, forget-me-not, forsythia, foxglove, hemlock, hollies, hydrangeas, junipers, kale (ornamental), lilacs, lilies, magnolias, maple (red or silver only), mulberry, nasturtium, oaks (red and white only), pines, poppies, snapdragon, snowberry, speedwell, sweet pea, sweet-William, tuliptree, violets and pansy, or yews (taxus).”

    It’s worthy of note that they too put spraying insecticide down as the last option.

  23. RunningRoach Says:

    We roaches just eat the little buggers. Then if any are left (burrrrp), camojack’s suggestion is rather compelling. Another thought…place the pheromone lures in a neighbors yard.

  24. Anonymous Says:

    I live in North Georgia and our JBS are just about gone. Since I grow roses, I suffer them every year.

    All traps do is lure more JBs to your yard. If you want to do that and then spray the heck out of them, you will do you neighbors a favor.

    The Bayer spray works well, but for major infestations (the JBs down here can defoliate a tree in one day) you need WMDs in the form of Sevin. Just mix some in a water bottle and have at it!

    Treating your lawn in August will kill many of the grubs that the active JBS are making right now.

    This is no time for restraint!

  25. Ymar Says:

    There’s more people at war than just neo-neocon.

  26. Hunter Gardner Says:

    Hunter Gardner…

    I do not profess to be any kind of an expert, but one of my favorite shade plants is heuchera, or coral bells. They take shade, and tolerate dry conditions a bit better than the average plant. Try one or two of those…they have very nice foliage, and …

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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