Japanese Beetles reduce raspberry bush leaves to mere stems.
So, for the last month, our customer’s bug of choice has been the Japanese Beetle. By now those ugly little critters have done their 1st round of damage, more on that later, and now it’s the mosquito that is getting our attention.

Hopefully everybody has weathered the storm of the attack of the Japanese Beetles. For a solid month customers purchased a ton of all the different versions of the insecticide Sevin and all the beetle traps. But we also sold Insecticidal Soap, Neem Oil, and a new Bee Safe Insect Killer with sesame seed oil to combat those bugs in a more organic way. There are many environmentally safer products out on the market to curtail outdoor insects.

Another thing on the beetles, watch out for a month and a half from now. Those mating beetles have laid their eggs around your plants and will soon change into a grass root eating larva. And about September 1st you won’t be able to figure out why your grass is looking a little thin in a few places in your yard. The white larva, now the size of a thin kidney bean, will feed for a month or so, and then burrow deep, only to hunker down for winter so they can come out strong again next summer. We have some options on how to get ‘em then too.

For years, the best mosquito repellent ingredient has been DEET, officially known as N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide. And every good hardware store will have versions in aerosols, pump sprays, wipes, clip on, stick on, name brands and generics. And as long as the products are at least 25% DEET, they will all work quite well at keeping mosquitoes away. But each year I always hear from a few people that DEET is an irritant to their, or their child’s, skin. Or they are looking for something more earth friendly. So here are a few organic options that you may want to try.

The highest rated organic repellents are ones with the oil of lemon eucalyptus and pine oil extract. Repel & Off! distribute products that include these as a base. You may have to apply it every few hours, but is a good alternative to DEET based products.

Here’s another angle. Mosquito repelling plants that you can grow. Consider marigold, lavender, basil, rosemary, catnip, scented geraniums, and citronella grass. They all put off a scent that has been tested and verified to keep the mosquitoes away.

And here is an option that we are putting in on the front porch of my homestead. A ceiling fan! Seems that a constant moderate movement of air keeps the little critters from being able to land and do what they do.

And last but not least… get rid of the standing water on your property! Especially the small amounts in the shade. Keep the dog’s water bowl and the bird bath filled with clean water!

So get ready, plan wisely, and whether it’s for you, the kids, for work, or play, you should be able to get the upper hand on the unofficial Indiana insects of summer. Your local hardware store is right around the corner to help you arm yourself for the battle of the bugs!

Dave is the owner of Umber’s Do it Best, which has been a family owned and operated establishment in the Fort Wayne community since 1944. Whatever your project needs are, we can help. Stop in today at 2413 Lwr. Huntington Rd. Ft. Wayne, In 46809. Call (260) 747-3866 or order online umbers.doitbest.com