I was outside working today when Mark asked me to come look at something and tell him whether he should rescue the critters or not. (He has learned that many insects are welcome in my garden.) Imagine my surprise when I looked into a white plastic 5-gallon container and saw about 50 dead or dying flower beetles (see earlier post) floating in 3 or 4 inches of water! I remembered that when I was reading about them, most articles said they were attracted to pale colored flowers, and I had noticed that seemed to be true. They were ignoring Louis Philippe, for instance, which is red. I think they saw that white bucket, thought it was the biggest white flower in the world, crawled in , and conveniently drowned! I plan to test my theory by locating several of them throughout my rose garden until this year’s infestation is over. It beats the heck out of walking around and plucking them one by one to drown them in a butter container full of soapy water. Not that that’s hard, but it does take some time. How nice it would be to wake up each morning and find that the beetles had been thoughtful enough to commit suicide during the night! Will let you know if it continues to work, but I am optimistic. I mean, how likely is it that the drowning beetles would have yelled out warnings to their friends to stay away from the big white flowers? I’m thinkin’ this might be the best answer, ever!
Flower Beetle (Euphoria sepulcralis)
(Photo found online)
Thanks to the April edition of “Wind Chimes,” the Central Florida Rose Society’s newsletter, I have identified the beetles ravaging my roses! (A hearty thank you to Elaine P. who sent me a copy of this wonderful newsletter!) As you can see, the flower beetle isn’t quite as shiny and pretty as the Japanese beetle, but they are obviously just as hungry. Watch out for these guys if you are growing roses here in central Florida. They will be on them like a duck on a June bug for the next couple of weeks, and hand picking is still the best way to rid yourself of them. Again, that butter dish full of soapy water is the easiest thing for me. I pluck ’em off the unlucky bloom and drop them into the Sudsy Soak of Doom, and that’s that. I have also been making the rounds in the morning and cutting new blooms for indoors before the flower beetles sink their nasty little chompers into them to eat the pollen and petals.
One thing to note, these particular beetles do not damage foliage at all. No, they want to go straight to the heart of why we grow roses to begin with…those sweet-smelling and gorgeous flowers. In a few weeks, they will disappear, leaving eggs in the soil that will turn into grass root-eating grubs. Thankfully, I don’t grow much lawn for them to thrive in, so perhaps my infestations aren’t as bad as some might be.
One thing for sure, these guys are not our friends! Good luck in getting rid of any that show up in your own garden. And if you are a rose lover living in this area, you might think about joining the Central Florida Rose Society. I really enjoyed reading their newsletter, and hope to attend some of the events listed, too. Once again, thanks Elaine, for contacting me and sharing the newsletters, and enjoy the cuphea photo!