Ellen & Michael: 1 - Japanese Beetles: 0
If you're squeamish you might want to skip this entry. On the other hand, you've already seen the picture, and that's the worst part. I think.
Japanese beetles are a fact of life in this part of the U.S. I don't have plagues of them, but even a few can do serious damage, so I'm not especially tolerant of these little buggers. On the other hand, I'm not willing to spray (chemicals, time) and we all know those pheromone traps don't work (they attract more than they trap and kill). So my smart husband Michael came up with this entirely non-toxic (except for the Japanese beetles) and perversely satisfying way of combatting the bug.
He squirted a 1/4 inch of dish washing liquid into a small bowl and left it on the deck railing, next to the roses, citrus, and basil. (These are the J.b's favorite plants in my garden.) When we spot a beetle, we hold the bowl under the bug, and knock it into the soap with a pencil. The soap coats the beetle, prevents it from flying away, and ultimates suffocates it. Yes, there's some desperate flailing of little beetle legs as the bugs lie on their backs in the liquid soap. But lest you feel sorry for them, take a look at a basil plant after a J.b. has had its way with it. Empathy disappears along with your dreams of homemade pesto.
We leave the bowl on the railing as a warning to other J.b.s that fly by in search of a meal. Sort of like heads on spikes on the castle parapet. I'm not convinced Japanese beetles actually have a communication network, but after three days we're catching many fewer beetles and I may actually get to make pesto next weekend. I'll keep you posted.