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Japanese Beetles In the Garden

This is my third year with a deck garden in Saint Paul, Minnesota. If you prefer the proper terminology, I'm an urban gardener. That is, I have a container garden. On my deck. In the suburb.

In previous years, I started out small – a ready-made pot of petunias and a few other plants and that was about it. Then, my gardening endeavor last year got pretty complex: I added more plants than the year before and I even grew herbs, which I used in my cooking. Whoa. Look out, Martha Stewart!

Well. You think last year was something special? This year, I was even more zealous...more plants, more pots, more types of foliage and I even added actual vegetables to the garden!

That's right, this year I'm not just growing basil, chives, cilantro and lettuce (like last year); this year I added green onions, cherry tomatoes, green peppers and green beans to the mix. Go big or go home, that's what Clint says. So that's what I did.

Well, everything was going swimmingly, 'til all of a sudden I noticed some of my leaves (on various plants) were looking a little holey and chewed.

Of course, I thought it was because I found snails in my container garden at the end of May. I tried to "trap" them with beer and even sifted through leaves, stems & soil every day for weeks trying to find the offending slugs...but I only caught and executed about 5 of the slimy things, so didn't think that was the reason I had holey leaves.

While I'd seen various bugs and beetles on the leaves here and there, I didn't think much of it...until this evening. I went out onto the deck to check on my lovely plants and lo and behold, there were beetles EVERYWHERE, especially on my zinnias.

These greenish, round little sh*ts were lolling on my erstwhile beautiful plants and I could see the utter desecration they'd wrought with their little beetle-y pincers...the evidence was writ plain to see on the leaves of my zinnias, daisies and even my CORN!

I was aghast...and I started slaughtering the beetles. No remorse, no "aww, they're just doing what they DO!" attitude; no, it was all cold-blooded smooshing. I must've gotten 15 of the wretched bugs before they started flying off.

After cleaning up the mess (and tossing the lifeless bodies into the trash) I Googled "garden beetles" and learned through Google Images that what's ruining my container garden is the Japanese beetle. Otherwise known as The Low-Life Beetle Which Shan't Be Allowed to Rule Here No More. 

I read up on them a bit, and it seems they're attracted to rotting/dying fruits...while I don't have any ripe fruit to speak of (yet), some of the flowers on the zinnia plant are well past their prime and could be responsible for attracting this hideous beetle.

Also, I learned that in killing the beetles on the plant, less beetles are likely to come because they give off some sort of "get it here" type pheromone that attracts more beetles. So, if there are less beetles to give off said pheromone, then it stands to reason less of them will show up.

Regardless, I shall be diligently checking each and every plant for the little bastards each and every evening (this is the only time I've ever seen so many of them on the plants at once...which could be due to the extremely hot weather, or the time of day – it was after 8pm – though I've yet to see this many beetles in one place before. 

War. War has been declared. 

We'll see who has the best strategy: the Japenese beetles or this container gardener!