Thursday, April 19, 2012

White grubs attack my blueberry bush

Hardy Jersey bush

Stunted Blueray

Oh no! I found yet another insect species in my garden recently. We added blueberry bushes to our crops last summer. Last week, I was poking around the pots, wondering why our Jersey bush is far more robust than the Blueray. And there in the soil of the Blueray was a wiggling worm-like critter. My first instinct was to ignore it. After all, creepy crawlers are abundant on our terrace. Somehow worms, ants, centipedes, bees, lady bugs and a host of other harmless insects find their way to our 20th floor urban garden. But then, I thought about those nasty horn worms that attack our tomatoes and decided to take a closer look. I plucked the bug out of the pot and as I did, I noticed another. And another. And, well, you get it, a regular infestation. So, I stomped the ones I pulled from the soil and stuck the last one in a yogurt cup, brought it inside and found the culprit on the computer. White grubs. They eat roots and live on a three-year cycle. We're in year two. The last year in the cycle is when they become Japanese beetles. Getting rid of them requires chemicals that could harm bee populations. I'm not going there. Another option is a bacteria called milky spores that kills white grubs when they ingest it. But it can take years to entirely eradicate the grubs. I've been inspecting the pot and pulling out dozens of them. The good news is that each day I find fewer. The bad news is that I've got to dig deep into the roots where they attach themselves for a feast. If they're not gone in a few weeks, there's a good chance we'll just dump the plant and dirt and start over with a new bush. The last thing I want to see next summer is a terrace full of beetles that eat everything in sight!

Culprit: White Grubs eat Blueberry roots

Gruesome collection

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