Someone wrote the author of the gardening column in the St. Paul paper
claiming that he'd taught birds to hunt down and eat Japanese beetles.
He started by catching the bugs, freezing them and then leaving the
carcasses near his bird feeders. He says that the birds ate them and
after a while started going after the live bugs.
Does this seem at all likely?
His story starts about half-way down the page.
thanks for posting this, it will give me
something else to figure out. :)
i can't say it works for sure (we don't do
bird feeders here), but as of this morning i
started leaving the dead bugs on the stepping
stones in the pathways and we'll see if the
birds pick up on them.
i think the japanese beetle coloring is very
much in the range of colors that birds don't
see easily. giving them some practice bugs
that they can see sure can't hurt. they're
nice fat beetles so other than perhaps for
toxic reasons i dunno why a bird wouldn't
eat them normally if they could find them.
they are a bit tough to get off the undersides
of leaves, so it would have to be a fairly
around here there are so many grasshoppers
and other bugs it doesn't seem that japanese
beetles would be a favorite, but hey, i'll
give this a try and see what happens.
up until today i hadn't seen many japanese
beetles on the beans, but they decided they
really like the edamame soybeans so i picked
eight of those plants and squished 'em on the
stepping stone. they've been out there two
hours now, so when i go out to check the beans
i'll see if they are still there...
one group of beetles completely gone another
group (about 50ft away from the first) is half
gone. so something is eating them off the
stepping stones. without a camera watching i
can't say what...
today's picking jb's off beans gave me one
more group on a stepping stone nearer the
birdbaths where i could put them out.
Used to leave them in a pile along the edge of the driveway here too
and they would also disappear. Never spotted who took them either. Most
common bird noticed in the vicinity was Chipping Sparrow. But could
have been a Robin, Blue Jay, House Sparrow, Finch, Starling, Cowbird,
I heard an interview several years ago (maybe the Diane Rehm Show) where
the gentleman grew roses. He made/bent wire stakes so as to give birds
convenient perches along side his roses so birds could better pick
bugs off them. He seemed to be convinced that it was working too...
> ;965716']Does this seem at all likely?
Yes. The Maori of New Zealand used to have a system for growing sweet
potato (kumara) where they kept trained gulls which picked the bugs off
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