I found one! The first Japanese Beetle was simply crawling around in the clover planted in the east end of the tunnel house. On Wednesday, May 30, I set my trap just above ground level.

I found one! The first Japanese Beetle was simply crawling around in the clover planted in the east end of the tunnel house. On Wednesday, May 30, I set my trap just above ground level.
I’ve been using the traps for some time. It was my neighbor that clued me in to lowering my traps to get more beetles. He set his on the lowest wire between two fence posts. Then I noticed my trap on the lower limb of the elm trees had a greater catch while the two traps set on the higher limbs seemed to only get the beetles landing on the elm trees. Nor can I see that I draw in my neighbors beetles with or without the traps.
Japanese beetle trap use is controversial. But, did you know the no-trap recommendation comes from two papers authored by Carter Gorden and Daniel A. Potter from the University of Kentucky? Published in the Journal of Economic Entomology in 1985 and 1986, they had set their traps about three feet above the soil level. A newer paper of 1998 in Journal of Arboriculture found a 97% reduction over a four-year period. Authored by Wawrzynski and Ascerno, they used a mass trapping over a full fifteen acres placing the bags less than twelve inches above ground level.
On that same day, I found another very unwelcomed foe that I had not seen since a teenager. Cuscuta spp, better known as dodder in our neck of the woods, can become a formidable foe in one season that is paid for over the next ten seasons. Dodder, an annual, is a native parasite; having no leaves or root system once it’s attached itself by haustoria (small sucking rootlets) to a host plant. It looks more like a golden string ever so lovingly wrapped around its choice host. It has small white flowers and fast maturing seeds.
The seedling is a three-inch-tall string. The vine itself is easily ignored until it has wrapped itself around many plants. Sometimes it even goes unnoticed until it starts blooming. By the end of the season millions of seeds are dropping to the ground waiting for the next ‘just right’ weather conditions. Usually a mere 5% of seeds germinates the following season. Since the seeds can remain viable for up to sixty years, it can quickly take over an area.
Getting rid of it when young is simple. Don’t use a weed eater or till it in. The small broken pieces that are attached can remain alive for days. The host plant must be destroyed right along with the dodder.
Dear Hubby and I placed black plastic bags next to the raised bed. We carefully pulled the clover back to the roots. Using a hand shovel, we lifted the plants, placed them on the bags, and put them in a black trash can for disposal. We used black to see the dodder easier and to kill the plants in the trash with high heat. I’ll plant a sacrificial crop in the beds to be sure there aren’t any more seeds waiting to germinate.
It’s hard to know where it came from. It may have been in the clover seeds, compost, manure, or mulch. I’ve added pictures to Nature’s Harvest Home page.
Happy Gardening.






Linda Simmons writes a column  for the Neosho Daily News.