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I have Crepe Myrtles on both sides of my front porch entrance. During the summer, these are normally plagued by Japanese beetles feasting on their leaves. This year, however, there are almost no beetles.
My blessing turned to dismay when literally hordes of common houseflies are all over my Myrtles. They appear to be not only stripping the flowered buds, but the flowers are very pale pink, when normally vivid pink.
Anyone experiencing problems with Crepe Myrtles this year? Any advice for the hordes of flies? I've been swatting relatively few, compared to the vast numbers of them (flies).
Hardiness Zone: 7a
By ck from Huntingtown,MD
You can get yellow sticky traps that will attract small insects and trap them. Or you can spray them with insecticidal soap, being sure to get the underside of the leaves. Good luck.
I also mix 1 tablespoon of liquid soap in a quart of water in a spray bottle. Spray for almost any insects in garden & flowers. Good luck.
I tried the soapy water this evening. Seems the flies are attracted to the sweet, excretions from the hard to see aphids on the leaves. On close examination, I can see the aphids moving with a squirt of the soapy water! Also, the flies didn't appreciate the water spray. I'm gonna repeat this several times.
Yesterday I heard a loud buzzing when I walked by the crepe myrtle in my yard. I though there may have been a honeybee swarm, but it was 100's, 1000's of flies. I sprayed it (from upwind) with some home made peppermint spray (homemade Rodent Sheriff = 1qt. spring water + 2 tbsp peppermint (cornmint) oil + 1/4 tsp organic dish soap ~$2 to make). A swarm of flies took wing.
I also use the spray in the garage for spiders, especially in corners, and the underside of tables benches, plastic chairs, etc. to keep away black widow spiders from where I may reach. Repels the rats and mice too. Lots of rats in central Florida, even in a nice clean neighborhood. No cold weather to keep the population down. Damn things breed year round. Need more rat and black snakes to eat the rats and mice.
Hardiness Zone: 7a
Maggie from Virginia
Adult Japanese beetles are easy to identify. They are about _ inch long and have a metallic green/blue head and body and copper colored wing covers. They like to feed on foliage and flowers, and roses and crape myrtles are two of their favorite plants. From June through August the adult beetles enter the soil to lay their eggs. The eggs hatch into white, comma-shaped grubs that feed on grass roots. As the weather cools, the grubs move deeper into the soil, remaining there over winter. They pupate the following June and leave the soil as adult beetles to start the cycle over again.
There are chemical sprays available for controlling the adult beetles, but I don't recommend them. They harm beneficial bugs like butterflies, bees and ladybugs and are bad for the environment. Your goal should be to disrupt the beetles mating cycle, so for trees, a better method is to purchase a bag trap designed especially for Japanese beetles. These traps are placed about 50 feet away from your tree in June to mid-July and use pheromones to lure the beetles into an hourglass-shaped trap. Once they fly in, they can't fly back out and they die. These inexpensive traps last for 4-6 weeks and are designed to take replacement bags so you can reuse them.
Adult beetles can also be removed by handpicking. Milky spore, Bacillus popilliae, is a disease-causing bacterium that is somewhat effective against Japanese beetles while in the grub stage. Milky spore isn't noticeably effective until the second year of treatment and needs to be applied yearly to remain effective.
Go to Wal-Mart or hardward store and buy SEVIN. They die immediately after you spray it on; and usually one treatment does the trick. (Doesn't harm plants and trees)