The last few years have been very trying for many gardeners on Washington Island due to massive numbers of rose chafers. We have been researching methods of organic and biological control at Gathering Ground, methods that go beyond the standard conventional controls, such as the use of carbaryl based pesticides.
This year, we are trialing a few methods of control in the vineyard, including tillage to disrupt rose chafers in the pupal stage, spreading nematodes to destroy rose chafer larvae in the soil, spraying Surround, which is a fine particle clay, on the grape vines, and using a combination of pyrethrums and neem oil.
But we have another method of control we’d like to experiment with this year, and this is where Islanders can get involved. After doing some digging around, we read about a group of farms in Ohio that had success in nearly eliminating the rose chafer from their area by using mass trapping. It was a concerted effort that took a few years, but the important part is, it worked.
And while rose chafers are native to North America, they have only been on the Island for several years, according to Island grape growers, who reported that they first saw the beetle less than a decade ago.
We are exploring ways to that we can do mass trapping on the Island. Great Lake IPM sells a rose chafer pheromone-based lure that is used typically to alert growers to the presence of the beetle. But it can be adapted to a large container that can trap hundreds or thousands of rose chafers at a time.
Gathering Ground plans to install four to six of these traps on our site, but we believe that we can achieve greater success if we set up more of these traps at various points on the Island. So we are looking for folks who want to get involved. Two trap stations cost $38.70, and a lure attractant costs around $5. We will need help retrofitting them to large container. Also, if you’d like to install a mass trap on your site, please note that traps should be set at least 30 feet from garden areas as it could attract more beetles to the area. If you’d like to be involved in this endeavor to rid the island of rose chafers, please contact us.