Gotta take the bad with the good

'Tis a lovely morning in the garden when the hybrid hyssop, Agastache 'Blue Fortune', is just beginning to bloom and the bees have already discovered it.

It sure didn't take long.

This lovely flower is definitely one of the top bee magnets in my garden. Bees love it!

Of course, naturally, maybe oops, not oops, I planted it by the sidewalk so people walking by can see the pretty flowers covered with bees. I'm sure that doesn't please a lot of people who are a bit skittish about bees. But honestly if you leave the bees alone, they'll tend to their business—or is it buzziness—amongst the flowers without hurting, stinging, buzzing, or otherwise annoying anyone else.

Do unto others...

Hey, wait a doggone minute.

Who invited the Japanese beetles to the party?
I surely did not!  I hate them. They eat leaves and flowers and generally annoy me. Sometimes, they don't do a lot of damage, but sometimes they do.

Just look at what they've done to the grape vine leaves!
And look at what they are doing on the grapevine.

Nasty little buggers.

If I didn't know better, I'd reach for the nearest chemical pesticide and cover them up with it to kill them.

But I do know better! If I spray the Japanese beetles, then I would end up killing the bees, too. I do not want that!

So I give the Japanese beetles a pass of sorts. If I run into them and I'm wearing gloves, I pick them off and squish them and then leave the remains, hoping the others get the idea that this garden isn't a safe place for them and they should leave.

However, that doesn't work all that well.

I could buy traps for them, but that lures them in faster than pigs run to slop. And once they are here, they don't all fall down into the trap. Oh no. They feast first. On my plants!

I should put some Bt down on the lawn and see if that kills the larvae which will soon hatch and live through the winter in the soil.  But I know myself and I probably won't do that, either.

Instead, I'll just keep squishing them.

And hope they leave soon.

Because I'd rather have bees and a few Japanese beetles, than not have any bees at all!


  1. This summer I have spent many a happy hour weeding listening to bees buzzing in and out of the flowers just above my head and never once felt threatened or been stung. In fact I've spent so many hours weeding even the birds ignore me now and come hunting for worms whilst I weed.

  2. Milky Spore is what I use for Japanese Beetles. It certainly helps. You only have to put it down every 10 years or so. This agastache is pretty.

  3. our Agastache is very pretty! I have found Japanese Beetles on my basil. Ugh!

  4. I "squish 'um",too! But what works for me is the beetle bucket. I put Dawn dish soap, a couple squirts, in a small bucket then fill half way with water. Dish soap kills them. Their natural tendency when threatened is to drop. So hold the bucket beneath them and firmly tap the branch, flower, or leaf. Splash! Into the bucket and certain death!

  5. My place of employment actually got rid of a garden due to bee concerns. Utterly ridiculous. They did let the employees take the plants, so that was good.

  6. I don't think we have them but we have plenty more. Who eats them I wonder?

  7. I was thinking a similar thing this week after spending an hour picking off Japanese Beetles. Then dusk fell and hundreds of fireflies rose from the grass. All worth it.

  8. Aw, I wish I could see hundreds of fireflies! But I also don't have Japanese beetles. Here in the PNW my major pests are probably slugs, fruit flies, hornets, and codling moths, not to mention the deer, rabbits, and squirrels. Once some fruit comes into the house infested with fruit flies, they can start being pests indoors as well. But I have a wide assortment of woolly bear caterpillars that become lovely Tiger moths that live here, though rarely seen, and enjoy the cute striped caterpillars of the Cinnabar moth as well.

  9. Aren’t those nasty little buggers just especially awful this year? They’re making skeletons of my leaves! I truly despise them, but like you, I won’t spray them and risk harming my bees and butterflies.


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