I hear from acquaintances that the annual invasion of Japanese beetles has begun, so I went looking. I’m quite certain that beetles were a problem once, though I can’t remember exactly when, but it seems that I barely notice them in recent years.
Of course, I tracked them down, but again, there aren’t many. The most abundant numbers (maybe a few dozen) of beetles are on a big pussy willow, which they’re barely making a dent in, and there are a scattered few on a clump of Ostrich ferns in nearly full sun. Ones in part shade aren’t bothered at all, and of course it’s surprising that any beast chews on ferns, but that’s usually where I see them.
I’m rarely prompted to think about it, but I wonder why there are so few? I don’t spray anything, and the lawn (mostly a field of clover) has never been treated (it’s not even fertilized). There’s nothing that I’ve done to prevent beetles, unless the reason there are so few is because of the number of birds in the garden. There are lots of birds, and I suppose it’s possible they’re controlling the numbers.
There are lots of birds because I’ve planted the things that birds need, trees and shrubs, and there are five water features scattered about. And, I suppose that these also attract plenty of pollinators and other insects. The insects get what they need to sustain future generations, then some are consumed by birds and particularly those that are relatively stationary and stand out such as beetles. I think this is how nature works, and from the relative lacking of Japanese beetles in the garden, it seems nature is working just fine.