This horrible creature – ten-lined June beetle (Polyphylla decemlineata) – loves my yard, especially the potato patch. A few years ago we had some of these (1.5″ to 2″) beetles hanging around the place, but things must have been going very well for them since then, as they are now extremely prolific. Not only do they fly around the yard at night like little helicopters and try to land on my back when I have the dog out for her last pee, but they get into my garden, lay their eggs, and when the grubs hatch out, they eat the potatoes.
Here is a pathetic little potato, mostly eaten by one of these ten-lined beetle larvae. I was discouraged by my struggling potato crop, since not much was growing in the very dry soil. Even after watering it every day, the soil was dry except for the first half inch. So I decided to pull up the potatoes and cut my losses. Why water these potatoes just to feed the bugs?
A few days ago, I pulled up half my potato crop and found about thirty of the grubs. I put them on an upside down garbage can lid and placed the lid at the base of a tree I had seen raccoons climb up a day or so before. The next day the grubs were gone.
Two days later, I dug up the rest of the potatoes, and again, found all these grubs that you see on the garbage can lid. I left them there, on offer to any raccoons that might be passing through the yard at night. I know the raccoons are here every night because I hear them, I see them, and I see the holes in the grass where they have been digging to try finding these grubs without my help.
With any luck, these grubs would become racoon food and save me the trouble of stepping on them to squish them. I don’t want them to suffer, but they are destroying my garden, and it already needs all the help it can get.
Do you have these terrifying insects in your yard? I hope not.
Update: A few hours later I looked at these grubs and saw that a bunch of yellow jackets had found them and were eating them alive. It seemed cruel to me, but I didn’t feel sorry enough for them to try to save them.
Early in the morning, all traces of the grubs were gone, so I am assuming that the raccoons ate them.